A powerful new workers’ watchdog will be created to protect the rights of UK workers, the government confirmed today.
Government has announced its plans to proceed with creating a Single Enforcement Body (SEB) to deliver more effective enforcement of employment rights for vulnerable workers. The SEB will bring together the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.
Responsibility for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers – currently spread across 3 different bodies – will be brought under one roof, creating a comprehensive new authority, which will ensure businesses that break the rules have nowhere to hide.
This ‘one-stop shop’ approach will help improve enforcement through better co-ordination and pooling intelligence.
The new watchdog will also enhance workers’ rights by providing a single, recognisable port of call for workers so they know their rights and can blow the whistle on bad behaviour.
The REC responded to the consultation after engaging with several stakeholders and our members. They welcomed the proposal but also highlighted several issues Government had to consider before the SEB is established through primary legislation.
To meet the compliance and enforcement priorities will require a shift in culture and remit of these government departments as well as maintaining resources and expertise. The 3 agencies must have sufficient intelligence sharing, effective collaboration and clear guidance for workers and businesses.
The SEB’s plans to tackle issues for workers and drive compliance across the whole labour market can only be done by considering the nuisances and differences in how agency workers provide their services. We maintain that there should not be a one size fits all approach especially when dealing with holiday pay and statutory sick pay issues which is more complex for agency workers. We welcome government’s commitment to providing guidance to businesses on best practice and compliment the work already carried out by ACAS. We will also push for clarity on the how their enforcement activity will extend to other legislation.
Further information can be found by following this link to the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-protect-workers-rights-and-clamp-down-on-workplace-abuse-with-powerful-new-body