Employers who mistreat staff will face up to £20,000 fine under workers’ rights overhaul

Posted On: 
17th December 2018

Employers who mistreat their staff could face a £20,000 fine under new government plans to boost workers’ rights.

Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced new measures to boost workers' rights

Business Secretary Greg Clark unveiled the new measures, which will also prevent agency staff being paid less than permanent employees.

Many of the reforms are aimed at workers in the so-called “gig economy”, who will get new entitlements to holiday and sick pay.

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But Labour and the TUC said the shake-up did not go far enough to protect workers in insecure employment.

The proposals are set out in a new report called the Good Work Plan and are based on recommendations made by former Tony Blair adviser Matthew Taylor after he carried out a review for the Government.

Mr Taylor told the Sun: “I’m 58 and this is the first time in my life a Conservative government has acted to help vulnerable workers.”

Mr Clark said: “The world of work is changing, bringing new opportunities for innovative businesses and new business models to flourish, creating jobs across the country and boosting our economy.

“Today’s largest upgrade in workers’ rights in over a generation is a key part of building a labour market that continues to reward people for hard work, that celebrates good employers and is boosting productivity and earning potential across the UK.”

But Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "This Conservative government has failed to support workers. Instead it has increased tribunal fees, attacked the health and safety of workers, introduced the draconian Trade Union Act and presided over the lowest wage growth in a decade.

"These proposals do nothing to tackle the growing number of people on precarious zero hours contracts and with their botched Brexit deal threatening jobs and rights they'll have to do a lot more than this to reassure workers."

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said the measures didn’t go far enough, particularly in tackling zero hours contracts, and called for more powers for trade unions.

She said: “These reforms as a whole won’t shift the balance of power in the gig economy.

“Unless unions get the right to organise and bargain for workers in places like Uber and Amazon, too many working people will continue to be treated like disposable labour.

“The right to request guaranteed working hours is no right at all. Zero hours contract workers will have no more leverage than Oliver Twist.”