CIPP Survey: Measures to address one-sided flexibility

26 September 2019

The CIPP policy and research team have published a survey to gather your views to address the issue of one-sided flexibility in the labour market.


The survey findings will feed into the CIPP response to the BEIS consultation on measures to address one-sided flexibility which explores in greater detail the proposals put forward by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) in a bid to address the issue of ‘one-sided’ flexibility as identified in the Matthew Taylor review.


The LPC research has found that in some parts of the labour market there are a minority of employers who misuse flexible working arrangements which creates unpredictability of hours, insecurity of income and a reluctance among workers to assert basic employment rights.


Four recommendations have been made by the LPC but this consultation will explore two of those, which are:

  • The right to a reasonable period of notice of work schedules
  • The creation of a policy to provide compensation for shifts that are cancelled at short- notice

In this consultation, the government would like to identify what current practice exists in relation to these two recommendations and explore what impact the recommendations would have and also consider how policies could best be designed to ensure that they effectively address one-sided flexibility – where it exists.


We recommend you have sight of the consultation paper as you respond to the survey questions.


Right to reasonable notice of work schedules


LPC believe that every individual should have a right to reasonable and recordable notice of their work schedules in a bid to discourage poor scheduling practice by employers, reduce unpredictability for workers and aid income security.


In practice, this policy will require an employer to provide a “reasonable” period of notice to a worker, prior to their shift starting.


A period that is considered “reasonable” is yet to be defined which balances both worker and employer needs.



Compensation for shift cancellation or curtailment without reasonable notice


The LPC recommends that where workers have their shifts cancelled without reasonable notice should be compensated and have put forward three options for the level of compensation, which are:


  • The value of the shift/hours in question
  • A worker’s appropriate NMW rate multiplied by their scheduled number of hours cancelled
  • A multiple of a worker’s appropriate NMW rate, e.g. three times the NMW


Employer compliance and guidance


One alternative option identified by the LPC was the provision of guidelines for employers.


Several organisations engaged with suggested codes of practice or improved guidance as a means of tackling the problem of one-sided flexibility.  Guidance or codes of practice would enable best practice to be shared across employers and industries and could be used to supplement the policies proposed within this consultation, or as a standalone option that covers a broader range of practices.


Government is seeking views on how employers could drive change in practices and share, both across their workforce and the wider industry, guidance on how the issue of one-sided flexibility can be addressed.


It is estimated that this survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable thoughts and experience.  The survey will close on 3 October 2019.




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