The government has announced it will be launching a new, single enforcement body for employment rights. Having released a consultation paper in 2019 outlining a plan to consolidate three existing employment welfare bodies into one, the overall reception from over 110 industry stakeholders was positive. Please keep reading and find out more about the new enforcement body and why the government believe it’s a great solution to protect the rights of employees in the UK.
In July 2019, the government released a consultation paper called ‘Good Work Plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights’, with the consultation period running until the 6th of October 2019. The consultation proposed a new enforcement body to tackle the “deeply fragmented enforcement landscape”.
Currently, three labour market enforcement bodies set out to protect workers and employment rights. These are the HMRC National Minimum Wage Enforcement, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.
The government believes that combining the three into a single body will create a strong and recognisable brand that will make it easier for people to identify and seek relevant assistance. The new body will also offer better business support by pooling together resources and using them more effectively.
During the consultation period, the government confirmed 111 interested parties shared their views – most in a positive manner. The majority suggested that a new, single-bodied enforcement entity would be “more effective than the current system”. The consultation gathered feedback from self-employed workers, employers, academics, trade associations, unions, charities, public bodies, legal experts, and more.
Those who were against the government’s plan to consolidate the existing bodies into one implied it was unnecessary and “that more time was needed to assess the progress made by the creation of the position of Director of Labour Market Enforcement”.
Why is the government launching a single-bodied enforcement establishment?
A single enforcement body will provide a better service for those with queries and concerns on employment rights. It will also help protect more vulnerable workers. The government state in the consultation outcome:
“This new single body will support employers to comply with the law, building on the compliance activity of the existing bodies, and by providing detailed technical guidance as well as introducing a compliance notice system for lower harm breaches. It must also be more effective at identifying non-compliance. We will look to achieve this through better data use and analysis, as well as tackling the barriers that can prevent workers, third parties and employers from coming forward with information.
The body will have new powers to tackle non-compliance, with the introduction of civil penalties for underpayment for the breaches under the gangmasters licensing and employment agency standards regimes that result in wage arrears. It will also have powers to enforce statutory sick pay, holiday pay and transparency in supply chains / modern slavery statement reporting.
Creating this new body will be subject to the usual government approval process. Primary legislation will also be required. Whilst this document sets out high level proposals, we are developing more detailed plans for the body in partnership with the existing enforcement bodies.”
The announcement has been well-received by the FCSA
The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has responded supportively to the government announcement. In a recent article, the FCSA said:
“The FCSA welcomes the announcement that the proposed single enforcement body will have a remit to police the umbrella sector with a further emphasis on ensuring holiday pay for vulnerable workers is protected.
The FCSA has long campaigned for regulation and specific legislation that further protects the agency and contractor workforce. There is now a clear statement from Government that umbrella regulation and the route to policing that regulation is on its way.
The Government’s response is also clear that the merging of the separate bodies is not a money-saving exercise, and that further funding will be announced in the next spending review. This will be the key indicator of whether the Government is serious about driving out exploitation within our sector. The Government should be under no illusion that effective policing aimed, we hope, at rogue operators will require considerable investment.
The FCSA look forward to assisting the Government in progressing this agenda and ensuring it remains a pressing priority.”
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Founded by an IT Contractor in 1998, Churchill Knight has become one of the most respected contractor accountants in the UK. We’ve helped over 20,000 contractors with their accountancy requirements. As well as our accountancy services, we also have an industry-leading PAYE umbrella company and dedicated in-house personal tax department. Whichever service you choose, you can move forward with complete peace of mind. We are proud of the reputation we’ve built over the years, and our FCSA accreditation proves how committed we are to compliance within our sector. Keep reading…