Recognition of problems in today’s job market – Taylor Review welcomed with reservations

Tuesday 8th August 2017
Leading local advice charity, Citizens Advice Exeter, says that the recent Matthew Taylor review of modern employment practices includes many proposals which would help people currently at the sharp end of insecure work but says that enhanced rights and protections will require more effective enforcement. The review report was published last month.

In the last year the charity has helped people with 1,074 enquiries about issues they were having at work. The main issues being:

  • 248 about pay and entitlements
  • 157 about dismissal,
  • 149 about terms and conditions of employment
  • 115 about dispute resolution, including Employment Tribunals

Citizens Advice Exeter Chief Executive, Steve Barriball, said:

“The Taylor Review is a decent first step towards a fairer jobs market. Tackling issues such as employment status and one-way flexibility could make a huge difference to people currently struggling at the sharp end of insecure work. But to make any proposed improvements a reality the government must ensure effective enforcement.

“As it stands responsibility for enforcement is spread across a bewildering number of bodies, making it hard for people to know where to turn if they’re being treated unfairly at work. The recent Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that fees for Employment Tribunals are unlawful should mark an end to Employment Tribunal fees standing in the way of people upholding their employment rights.

“People’s employment rights are only as good as their ability to enforce them. Employment Tribunal fees have been a huge barrier to justice, but they are not the only challenge people face. What your rights are, and how to go about getting redress without resorting to an Employment Tribunal remains a very complicated picture.

“While the Taylor review acknowledges the need for better enforcement powers for agencies, such as HM Revenue & Customs, we urge the government to go further by creating a single Fair Work Authority which can clamp down on illegal business practices, making it easier for people to get the rights they’re entitled.

In its submission to Matthew Taylor’s review the Citizens Advice service made three key recommendations:

  • The types of employment and people’s rights at work should be clear and transparent
  • The system of employment rights and protections should be accessible and  responsive, ensuring rights adapt to changing labour market practices
  • A broad and long term commitment by government and employers is needed to create stable and decent jobs.

Case studies:

  1. A client who was demoted with no consultation in order that another colleague could be reassigned from another area of the business and was then told that their hours of work had been reduced without negotiation or agreement.
  2. A client whose employer failed to make any provision or payment for long distance travel to various places of work or for training and provided no paid holiday entitlement.
  3. A client who was off work and had various employment benefits and bonuses withheld by the employer and was also owed holiday pay.