Labour Market Enforcement annual report 2018-19 published

13 July 2020

Matthew Taylor, the Interim Director of Labour Market Enforcement, has released his first full annual report assessing labour market enforcement activity.

The report evaluates labour market enforcement following on from the former Director’s 2018-2019 Strategy.

The annual report discusses:

  • How far labour market enforcement functions were exercised in the period from April 2018 to October 2019, alongside the 2018/19 strategy recommendations
  • An evaluation on the effect on the scale and nature of non-compliance in the labour market
  • Activities relating to the Director’s Information Hub performed within the reporting period

Taylor also released a statement in relation to the report, which explains that it details how he has acted upon the recommendations in Sir David Metcalf’s strategy.  He highlights how there have been welcome changes to regulations, including the abolition of the Swedish derogation, new rules surrounding the access to and content of payslips, along with the requirement for a new day one statement of rights for all workers. Taylor also confirms that he is pleased to see progress in the bodies that he oversees, particularly in terms of working collaboratively. Taylor does, however, note that prosecutions are not being used widely enough as a deterrence tool and that penalties for non-compliance remain too low.

At present, nothing can be discussed without inclusion of the impacts of COVID-19, and Taylor highlights the fact that there needs to be reflection on how the outbreak of coronavirus and its economic fallout could alter debates surrounding enforcement and compliance. Particular focus is given to the extent and speed at which the government implemented measures to support and protect businesses and individuals. Taylor confirms that various work carried out by several different bodies has been impacted by the pandemic, including HMRC work on National Minimum Wage (NMW) enforcement.

On the subject of a Single Enforcement Body (SEB), the speech confirms that Taylor is still awaiting the results of the associated consultation but, as this is a manifesto commitment, he expects the government to proceed with the creation of the body. He believes that a broader, and better funded, SEB would have the following advantages:

  • Enhanced intelligence and sophisticated use of data and strategic capacity
  • The scope to create a joined up local compliance and enforcement service staffed by field officers
  • A clearer route for compliance and support for workers, developing a ‘brand’ and reputation for the organisation that engenders trust and clarity overs its roles, its contact routes, and its enforcement response
  • The scale to engage employers and sectors in a joined-up way to develop collaborative and targeted approaches

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