Employment Law: UK Workers' Rights | June 2021
In this month's update, we take a look at UK workers' rights and 'firing & re-hiring' - two areas of employment legislation that have been making headlines in recent weeks.
Fire and Re-hire
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) asked ACAS to conduct an evidence gathering exercise to learn more about the use of ‘fire and rehire’ practices. ACAS published its findings this week following this exercise.
Throughout 2020, the use of 'fire-and-rehire' practices during the COVID-19 pandemic has become more prominent. This is where employers dismiss then re-employ workers on changed terms and conditions, or where the prospect of doing so is put to workers during negotiations about changing their terms and conditions. ACAS state ’There have been concerns that some employers are using the pandemic as a pretext to diminish workers’ terms and conditions and using fire-and-rehire as a tactic to undermine or bypass genuine workplace dialogue on change’.
The report does not provide recommendations rather it provides a valuable insight into the research participants’ understanding of this issue.
UK Workers' Rights and Protection – New Workers' Watchdog
The government announced this week that a powerful new workers’ watchdog will be created to protect the rights of UK workers. The key areas under the remit of this new enforcement agency will combine the roles of several other agencies and focus on areas such as:
- Modern slavery
- Holiday pay and statutory sick pay
- National Minimum Wage
As well as providing guidance to employers in these key areas, they will also have increased enforcement powers to tackle abuses by unscrupulous employers.
Whilst no timeline has been given for the primary legislation required to enact this new agency, it looks as though law reform is very much on the way.
NB: This information is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law. However, if you have any HR issues on this or any other HR matters and would like to talk them through with our team, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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