12 February 2018
Prime Minister announces new flexible working rights
Theresa May says flexible workers will be given improved rights following a government-ordered review into modern employment practices.
According to the Prime Minister, millions of workers will benefit from increased sick pay, holiday pay and the right to ask for stable contracts under the Good Work plan.
The plan was formed in response to the Taylor review, carried out by former advisor to Tony Blair Matthew Taylor.
The review, released in July 2017, called for "dignity in the workplace" and protections for gig economy employees, such as those working for companies like Uber or Deliveroo.
Both Labour and union bosses agreed that more radical reforms are needed and that the plan is only a "baby step".
It does not include a ban on zero-hour contracts or minimum pay requirements, although the Low Pay Commission will be asked to consider a higher minimum pay rate for workers on casual contracts, for example.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "These plans won't stop the hire and fire culture of zero-hours contracts or sham self-employment. And they will still leave 1.8 million workers excluded from key protections.
"Ministers need to up their game. At the very least they must end the Undercutters' Charter that means agency workers can be paid less than permanent staff doing the same job."
Shadow business minister Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "Labour warned that the review did not go far enough, and yet the government has failed to adequately meet even the most basic of recommendations."
Ministers have pledged to clamp down on sectors where unpaid interns are carrying out the jobs of workers, and to name and shame the businesses who fail to pay out if they lose tribunals.
They've also promised to consider "work quality" when agreeing new sector deals with industry, to encourage employers to show how they're investing in workforces to boost productivity.
"We recognise the world of work is changing and we have to make sure we have the right structures in place to reflect those changes, enhancing the UK's position as one of the best places in the world to do business," Mrs May said.
"We are proud to have record levels of employment in this country, but we must also ensure that workers' rights are always upheld."