The Taylor Review – Good Work for All

There has been significant change in the Human Resources landscape in recent years. Inexplicably high levels of employment during a period of economic instability, a spike in zero hours contracts and higher levels of gig working and self-employment. Alongside ongoing issues with national productivity, the government felt it was time to appraise the situation. So they commissioned a report into modern UK working practices called the Taylor Review. What does the report mean for you as an employer? And is there anything you need to do right now?

The Standout Recommendation – Good Work

Following public hearings, round table and small group discussions with entrepreneurs and businesses, the Taylor Review produced a 116-page report. Its main recommendation is that the UK needs to sign up to the ambition of “all work being good work.”
According to the report, what ‘good work’ means varies from individual to individual at different life-stages and is also impacted by personal circumstance. It means changes in legislation and HR practices to ensure: sufficient pay and pay progression; fair treatment of all employment types; and holding fulfilling jobs with realistic scope for personal development. Issues such as good work-life balance, employee well-being and the potential to influence the direction of their job are also considered to comprise quality work.

The Recommendations and What They Mean for You

Here are the Taylor Review’s seven recommendations and what they could mean for your business.

1. A Sense of British Fairness

Fair work means ensuring all forms of employment are entitled to a reasonable balance of rights and responsibilities with a baseline of protection and routes to enable career progression.
What this means for you
Employment contracts may need to be provided on day one of employment for all employees and workers with more detail concerning rights than is currently required. This should give workers additional protections.

2. Employment Status

The report recommends retaining the flexibility of gig working arrangements but recommends making clearer distinctions between employees, workers (to be re-named as ‘Dependent Contractors’) and the self-employed.
The aim is to better protect dependent contractors with improved employment rights like holiday pay and the minimum wage. And continuity of employment may become easier to demonstrate making it easier for workers to accrue more employment rights. Its recommended that after 12 months on a zero hours contracts, an individual would be entitled to a contractual number of fixed hours. For more information on the current position, see our blog.
What this means for you
The good news is that the complexities of employment status should be reduced. The bad news; your employment costs are likely to increase if you employ dependent contractors.
Complex Employment Law – No More
Employment law is currently a complex mix of case law and legislation which makes it difficult for employees to know their rights and for employers to make the right choices. Again, the report’s focus is on ‘dependent contractors’ with a recommendation for additional protections for this group who are most likely to suffer from unfair treatment.
Stronger incentives (read penalties) are also suggested to ensure firms treat this group fairly. People suffering from ill health could also benefit from a right to return to their previous job and the report also recommends extending Statutory Sick Pay from day one of a contract.
What this means for you
Again, costs could increase and you would be required to backfill vacant roles due to long term sickness absence on a temporary contract basis. Employees will become increasingly HR-savvy meaning you need to be on your toes when it comes to employment law. Work with an HR consultant to ensure your processes are fit for purpose.

3. More Responsibility for Employers

How is all this going to be achieved? Through improvements to corporate governance, good management, and strong employee relations. Employers are expected to be seen to take the concept of good work seriously, be open about their HR practices and ensure all workers are engaged with and can voice opinions. The Taylor Review recommends requiring just 2% of the workforce (not the current 10%) to request an employee representative body.
What this means for you
If you already have high levels of engagement, clear people policies that you consistently follow and you regularly consult with your employees about working life (and act on their feedback), keep going. If not, start making these changes now before your competitors do or risk losing employees.

4. Career Development in the Spotlight

The report recommends all individuals should be able to continuously enhance their capabilities through formal and informal learning and on and off the job activities.
What this means for you
Consider developing formal career paths within your business. This will help attract and retain employees who can see a future with your organisation. Alternatively, expose your employees to project work or rotate people into related roles to keep work fresh and enhance business knowledge.

5. Good Job Design for Good Wellbeing

As the Taylor Review says, “the shape and content of work and individual health and well-being are strongly related.” Work intensity, hours, work-life balance and workplace health are all critical in ensuring firms, workers and the public benefit from good work.
What this means for you
Research shows that poor employee wellbeing impacts negatively on your business so if you think you could be doing more to enhance workplace wellbeing, seize the moment. If you’re not sure where to being, contact an HR specialist to light the way.

6. Enabling Pay Progression

While the National Living Wage has improved the finances of low-paid workers, the Taylor Review suggests an accompanying strategy to ensure everyone, but particularly those on low wages, can progress their careers and their earnings.
What this means for you
Pay progression goes hand in hand with career progression. So, if you plan to implement career paths or give people additional responsibilities to further their capabilities, you should also consider how to commensurately increase their pay. A well-designed pay structure can also control costs, attract and retain employees.
These are just some of the changes that could be afoot over the coming parliament. Keep your eyes peeled to know when you need to act or work with an HR Consultant to ensure you remain a law-abiding employer.
If you need support managing any element of employment law or your wider people practices, get in touch on 0330 555 1139 or at