IES response to the UK Government's Good Work Plan

Press Releases

17 Dec 2018

Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), responds to the UK Government’s Good Work Plan.

‘We welcome today's Good Work Plan. It has been clear for some time that the government would accept Matthew Taylor's recommendations, but better rights will also require much more active enforcement. So, perhaps of more importance today is the news that the government has agreed to give the Director of Labour Market Enforcement almost all of the new powers that he asked for in his Enforcement Strategy. This will include much more proactive enforcement of wage and employment rights, stronger partnership working and information sharing with other agencies, and the future reinvestment of money raised through fines to fund stronger enforcement.

‘Our research with gig economy workers has found that many people were highly satisfied with their working lives, but of course many more had been affected by 'one sided' flexibility. So, while today's announcements are a firm step in the right direction, the government and employers can go further still.

‘We would strongly support the Low Pay Commission's recommendations today that workers should have a right to switch to a contract that better reflects their working hours, rather than just the right to request one. Workers should also be entitled to compensation when shifts are cancelled with unreasonably short notice. It is welcome that the government will consult on these measures, but it must do so quickly, in order that this can be concluded in time for any future legislation.

‘Unfortunately, today's plan is also almost entirely silent on how workers in the gig economy could be supported to upskill and retrain. We know that those in temporary work and the self-employed are far less likely to access training, while the new National Retraining Scheme and apprenticeships are very unlikely to benefit these workers.

‘Given the changing world of work and the challenges that we may face with Brexit, we need to find much better ways to support those in less-secure and non-traditional employment to get the skills that they and the economy will need. We would urge the government, and local areas with devolved skills budgets, to focus on this in the coming year.’

Interviews and further comment

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, is available for comment.

Please contact Mark Jack, IES communications officer:

Telephone: 01273 763 435