There is no denying that there's been a lot of cases in the press about worker rights recently.  The barrage of gig economy 'worker rights' cases can probably become a bit tiring when you need to get on with running a business and day to day life!  

That's why this blog will give you a bitesize explanation of some new legal changes that you should understand and watch out for. 

(1) European Parliament approves new regulations to enhance casual workers' rights

The new regulations provide a minimum set of standards for casual workers, including for example: a right to compensation for late cancellation of work, a restriction on probationary periods (not lasting more than 6 months), allowing employees to work elsewhere, the right to a description of duties from day one and to other starter information (for example, pay, start date, standard work day) and more.

Whilst typical employees will receive some of the above anyway, casual employees are being treated differently in some instances and the EU is seeking to address that imbalance. The BBC has reported that : 

"The European Parliament says the new legislation will apply to "the most vulnerable employees on atypical contracts and in non-standard jobs" - including those on zero-hour contracts."   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47947220

The changes are expected to apply to those workers/ employees/apprentices who work at least 3 hours a week averaged over a 4 week period.

Member states of the EU are going to be given 3 years to implement the changes. Whilst  the UK may well have 'Brexited' by then, these changes are still one to keep an eye on.  

Our government's commitment to improving transparency for workers and employees under the Good Work Plan may mean that the government decides to implement some or all of the changes in our national law, irrespective of whether Brexit goes ahead within the 3 years or not. 

(2)  As of 6 April 2020, recruiters need to give work-seekers a key information document before any terms are agreed.

On 28 March 2019, new legislation was passed that requires employment businesses (more commonly known as recruiters supplying temporary staff) to provide work-seekers with a key information document before terms are agreed.   The new legislation is named the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - catchy I know!

The new regulations have been passed following the government's proposals under the Good Work Plan and to provide better clarity for workers when it comes to their work arrangements. The practical impact is that: 

(a) those recruiters supplying temporary workers will need to provide specific information to the worker before terms are agreed with them and supply takes place; and 

(b) where umbrella businesses are involved, they will need to liaise with the recruiter to provide specific pay information for them to include.   

The key information document must contain prescribed information about the recruiter and the work-seeker, contact details of enforcement officers and confirmation that they may contact those officers if concerned about a breach of the regulations and other required details.  What other details have to be provided will vary  depending on whether the work-seeker is just the individual worker being supplied or a limited company (for example, an umbrella company) is involved.

For those who are keen to read more on it, a copy of the new regulations can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/725/contents/made

This blog provides a brief introduction to the changes, but feel free to contact me if you need more information or advice on these matters or the implications of them.   My email address is: emma.james@brabners.com.