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Rebecca Wayman

Industrial Strategy: 'Millions' of UK workers to benefit from new government legislations

Announced today (February 7), millions of flexible workers should soon receive new rights under government reforms.

This comes into force as the UK becomes one of the first countries to address challenges of working in a digital, modern economy.

It has been named ‘Good Work Plan’, and is in response to the Taylor Review published in 2017, which supposedly investigated that the UK’s labour market is ‘built on flexibility’ but a clearer focus is needed on the quality of work as well as the quantity.

On a whole, the reform is part of the Industrial Strategy, the government’s and Prime Minister’s long-term pledge to ‘build a Britain fit for the future’.

Theresa May, Prime Minister, said: “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.

“We are proud to have record levels of employment in this country but we must also ensure that workers’ rights are always upheld.

“Our response to this report will mean tangible progress towards that goal as we build an economy that works for everyone.”

It has been recognised that the UK’s employment law and tax law can fail to provide the clarity that employers and individuals need.

Therefore, the government is also launching a detailed consultation examining options, including new legislation, to make it easier for the workforce and businesses to understand whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed. This will determine which rights and tax obligations apply to them.

Business secretary, Greg Clark, added: “The Taylor Review said that the current approach to employment is successful but that we should build on that success, in preparing for future opportunities.

“We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges.

“It is an important part of the Industrial Strategy and will enhance our business environment as one of the best places to work, invest and do business.”

Quality work will also be considered by the government when agreeing new sector deals with industries, encouraging employers to show how they are investing in workforces to improve productivity. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will work with labour market experts, trade unions and the business community to measure the standards of quality work established in the Taylor Review.

The UK’s Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan for a ‘stronger, fairer economy’. The government has said it is determined workers receive their rights and pay.

In 2018, it will be spending £25.3m on minimum wage enforcement. Last year, £11m in back pay for 98k workers was recovered, apparently a 70 per cent increase.

And, since 2013, the government has supposedly named 1,500 employers for underpayment of minimum wage and recovered £8m for 58k of the UK’s lowest paid workers.

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