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What is the Taylor Review?

Led by Matthew Taylor, this independent review considers the implications of new forms of work on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations.

The 7 principles

The Taylor Review sets out 7 principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market, which you can read on point “14. Seven steps towards fair and decent work with realistic scope for development and fulfilment“.

The headings of these 7 principles are:

  1. Our national strategy for work should be explicitly directed toward the goal of good work for all.
  2. Platform-based working offers welcome opportunities but we need to ensure fairness for those who work through these platforms and those
    who compete with them.
  3. Help firms make the right choices and individuals to know and exercise their rights.
  4. The best way to achieve better work is not national regulation but responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within the organisation.
  5. It is vital to individuals and the health of our economy that everyone feels they have realistically attainable ways to strengthen their future work
  6. We need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health
  7. The National Living Wage needs to be accompanied by sectoral strategies engaging employers, employees and stakeholders to ensure that people can progress in their current and future work.

The Taylor Review also set out a “Good Work Plan”.

The Good Work Plan

  • Ensuring tips left for workers go to them in full.
  • Ensuring workers are paid fairly by providing agency workers with a Key Facts Page when they start work, including a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages.
  • Enforcing vulnerable workers’ holiday pay for the first time.
  • Including as part of the day-one rights notification of holiday and sick pay entitlements and a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers.
  • Introducing a right for all workers, not just zero-hour and agency, to request a more predictable and stable contract, providing more financial security for those on flexible contracts.
  • Revising the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority licensing standards to ensure that they reflect current worker rights and employer obligations.
  • Introducing a new naming and shaming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards.
  • Taking further action to ensure unpaid interns are not doing the job of a worker.

You can see more on the at BBC’s “The Taylor Review – At a Glance“.

Work-life balance

Encouraging flexible work is good for everyone and has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, worker retention and quality of work.

The proportion of employees saying that flexible working was important to them when they initially decided to take up their current job has increased over recent years and in a recent survey of people working through platforms and other similar companies, 75% said they were satisfied with their ability to set their own hours with 68% satisfied with their work-life balance.

Certain groups are also more likely to place greater importance on flexibility such as carers, women, those with disabilities and older workers. For example, a survey showed 40% of women state that flexible working is ‘very important’ to them in comparison to 23% of men. Similarly, 42% of those with caring responsibilities said flexible working was important in comparison to 29% of those without caring responsibilities. Flexibility can allow these groups to participate more fully in the labour market by enabling them to balance work around other priorities.

Case Study

In April 2017, McDonald’s offered 115,000 UK workers on zero-hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours every week. The fast-food chain offered fixed-hours contracts after staff in its restaurants complained they were struggling to get loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts because they were not guaranteed employment each week. The company found that about 80% of workers in the trial chose to remain on flexible contracts and it reported an increase in levels of employee and customer satisfaction after the offer. Staff were offered contracts in line with the average hours per week they worked. This included contracts of four, eight, 16, 30 or 35 hours a week. They initially offered these fixed hour contracts to 50 more restaurants, but plan to roll it out nationwide to existing and new employees later this year.

The Taylor review stated that banning zero-hours contracts in their totality would have a negative impact on more people than it helped and that the flexibility of ‘gig working’ is not incompatible with ensuring atypical workers have access to employment and social security protections. What is important is making sure workers have more knowledge of their rights at work – and greater ability to ensure flexibility works for them – is sensible.

The UK’s flexible labour market has been an invaluable strength of our economy, underpinning job creation, business investment and our competitiveness… Fairness – the way you are treated at work and the opportunities open to you. -The Taylor Review.

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