Kelly Tolhurst MP: UK will continue to be a world leader in workers’ rights into the future
Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are building a Britain that has an economy and industries that are fit for the future and ensures workers have access to high quality and fair work now and in the future, says Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP.
Workers are the lifeblood of our businesses, and of the UK economy. From running my own company, to speaking to an array of different sectors and industries in my current role, I’ve experienced first-hand just how important and it is that workers receive the rights they deserve and that we strike the right balance between flexibility and protection.
The UK has led the world in workers’ rights and in that tradition, we are bringing forward trailblazing new set of workers’ rights as part of the biggest upgrade of employment laws in a generation. Ensuring the UK remains one of the best places to world and live.
We are building on strong foundations – we have the highest employment rate on record, increased participation amongst historically under-represented groups and wages are growing at their fastest pace in almost a decade. We are also seeing a rise in new ways of working. This includes the gig economy and flexible working, which not only give people more choice to work around their lives but are supporting our economy and helping businesses to thrive.
This new world of work presents new opportunities but also challenges that need to be addressed from ensuring employers understand their obligations and employees understand their rights and entitlements.
In December, we broke new ground by announcing the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years, which will protect and enhance workers’ rights across the UK. We are now well on our way to putting these innovative reforms into action. I am proud to say that thanks to these reforms and new laws almost 300,000 workers will receive a payslip for the first time. For those paid for time worked, their payslips will now include the number of hours worked, making it easier for them to check they are being paid in full and at the correct rate.
At the same time, Parliament has also approved the first package of ground-breaking new workers’ rights that will cement the UK’s status as a world leader in workers’ rights, not just now, but into the future.
Over 1.5 million Britons will benefit from this new legislation. Receiving a day one statement of rights setting out leave entitlements and pay will become the norm, not the exception. And agency workers will benefit from the repeal of the Swedish Derogation – a legal loophole that has enabled some companies to pay agency workers less than permanent staff.
As part of these changes, we have also committed to legislate to improve the clarity of the employment status tests to reflect the reality of modern working relationships. We will also provide recommendations in the months to come on salary sacrifice schemes and are working with world-leading academic Professor Arin Dube to lead a review of the impact of minimum wages internationally to help end low pay in the UK.
Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are building a Britain that has an economy and industries that are fit for the future and ensures workers have access to high quality and fair work now and in the future.
Kelly Tolhurst is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility and Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood.