BEIS and the Ministry of Justice consult on enforcement of employment rights

08 February 2018

The consultation on enforcement of employment rights recommendations  will run until 16 May 2018.

The Taylor review made a number of recommendations on the enforcement of employment rights:

  • HMRC should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers – National Minimum Wage, sick pay and holiday pay for the lowest paid workers;

  • Government should ensure individuals are able to get an authoritative determination of their employment status without paying any fee and at an expedited preliminary hearing;

  • The burden of proof in employment tribunal hearings, where status is in dispute, should be reversed so that the employer has to prove that the individual is not entitled to the relevant employment rights, not the other way round, subject to certain safeguards to discourage vexatious claims;

  • Government should make the enforcement process simpler for employees and workers by taking enforcement action against employers/engagers who do not pay employment tribunal awards, without the employee/worker having to fill in extra forms or pay an extra fee and having to initiate additional court proceedings;

  • Government should establish a naming and shaming scheme for those employers who do not pay employment tribunal awards within a reasonable time;

  • Government should create an obligation on employment tribunals to consider the use of aggravated breach penalties and cost orders if an employer has already lost an employment status case on broadly comparable facts; and

  • Government should allow tribunals to award uplifts in compensation if there are subsequent breaches against workers with the same, or materially the same, working arrangements.

The consultation paper:

  • sets out the government’s intention to enforce a wider range of basic employment rights on behalf of vulnerable workers

  • seeks evidence on the extent of the problem faced by low paid workers in accessing sick pay and holiday pay to help target enforcement efforts

  • sets out the government’s plans to simplify the enforcement process for employment tribunal awards

  • outlines the government’s intention to introduce a naming scheme for unpaid employment tribunal awards

  • takes forward the review’s recommendations that employment tribunal judges should be obliged to consider stronger punishments for employers who ignore previous tribunal judgments

  • seeks views on how best to implement these measures.

CIPP comments:

The CIPP policy and research  team will be publishing a survey and running a roundtable to gather your views, experiences and responses to the proposals put forward in this paper and to the questions being asked. Further details will be forthcoming through News and in the Policy hub but in advance of that expressions of interest are welcomed to [email protected]. Please write employment rights in the subject line of your email.

Thank you