The Good Work Plan

by Heidi Birkin, 4 minutes read
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The Good Work Plan

Will the Good Work Plan be good for you?

How technology can help you stay in step with new employment legislation

The UK’s flexible labour market has plenty of upsides. But it can create an uncertain environment for casual workers that the recently published Good Work Plan seeks to put right. While this could create more complexity for employers, technology now has many of the answers.

At the end of 2018, the UK government published the Good Work Plan, its detailed response to the Taylor Review of modern working practices. The Taylor Review’s ambition was that “All work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfillment.”

The Good Work Plan

In its new plan, the government accepts nearly all of Taylor’s recommendations. And while many of its proposed reforms still lack detail, legislation around some of them is due to come into force in April 2020. So with just over a year before some significant changes in employment law come into force, what does the Good Work Plan mean for you?

To start with, here’s an at-a-glance summary of the three areas that are particularly relevant to businesses with hourly paid and shift workers:

1. Fair and decent work

The Good Work Plan

Legislation is planned in this area around hours, pay and consultation, for example:

  • Workers on variable contracts (including zero hours) will be able to request a more stable contract after 26 weeks of work.

  • The inactive period which counts as continuous service with one employer will be extended from 1 week to 4 weeks.

  • Agency workers will no longer be able to give up their rights to equal pay in return for pay between assignments.

  • Employers will be banned from making deductions from tips.

  • The threshold needed to set up information and consultation arrangements will be lowered to 2% from 10% of employees.

There may also be a minimum notice period for shift changes, and a requirement to provide schedules in advance. And there are plans to encourage employee engagement by having employers measure criteria like satisfaction, well-being, autonomy, and fair pay.

2. Employment status

The Good Work Plan

In response to Taylor’s recommendation to “make the taxation of labour more consistent across employment forms”, the government is consulting on how to align work and self-employed status with employment rights and tax. This may result in “gig economy” workers becoming classed as workers rather than self-employed.

3. Enforcement

Measures planned here include an increase in the reference period for holiday pay from 12 to 52 weeks and extended enforcement for underpayment of holiday pay. There will be extra penalties for employers who don’t pay within 28 days and it’ll be easier for employees to pursue tribunal awards.

More admin headaches?

While the Good Work Plan is perhaps not the large-scale upheaval that the government suggests, it’s nonetheless going to impact anyone employing shift or hourly paid workers. It’ll demand accurate tracking and reporting of time worked, as well as putting the responsibility on businesses to step up their employee engagement efforts. When managers are already under pressure to balance compliance with being competitive, it can create even more administrative headaches.

The Good Work Plan

Or an opportunity to work smarter?

Looked at another way, the Good Work Plan could be good for businesses by providing an incentive to streamline how they work. Technology like Deputy provides an instant digital record of time worked, so employers can stay compliant with minimum effort while employees have a robust and transparent record of their employment history.

Working smarter with Deputy – customer examples

‘Pop up mall’ Boxpark integrates Deputy with payroll so there’s no mismatch between hours worked and what staff gets paid. It creates transparency and trust between the employer and the employee.

For the 44-bed Castle Hotel, Deputy also provides a communication channel with hourly paid and shift workers so staff can be quickly and consistently updated without the need for time-consuming calls and emails.

At cycling brand, Rapha, managers can use Deputy to take care of individual staff requirements. For example, setting the recommended hours for a week to avoid employee stress or ensuring the right skills are available for specific shifts.

Breaking down barriers

The Good Work Plan

And app-based tools also offer a way to build employee engagement, for example by making two-way communication clear and simple (shift management is much easier) and integrating timesheets with payroll so people know what and when they are going to get paid.

By breaking down the barriers between employees and the business, tools like Deputy can help make the Good Work Plan’s ambition of “fair and decent work with scope for development and fulfilment” become reality. To see the platform in action for yourself, click on the button below to start your free trial today!

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