A consultation entering its last weeks asks whether a new Single Enforcement Body for employment rights should be created to protect vulnerable workers.
The new body would tackle labour exploitation and modern slavery, workplace discrimination and, to some extent, health and safety.
It would bring together the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Team. Currently, these bodies are meant to work closely under one strategy but the system is ‘fragmented’ and not as effective as it could be, say the plans.
The GLAA supported the proposal, saying it would provide a “strong, recognisable brand for individuals to know to seek help from and go to”.
Margaret Beels, GLAA’s chair, said: “Our priority at the GLAA is the protection of vulnerable workers from exploitation and we welcome moves to make it easier for victims to access help and support.”
But the consultation also hints at bigger changes. It gives examples of other countries the UK could follow, such as Canada where the Ministry of Labour has responsibility for enforcing a broad swathe of employment rights.
It also asks whether the new body should police the ‘gaps’ in enforcement, including holiday entitlement and pay, an area which comes under HSE’s remit as part of the Working Time Regulations 1998, but is not currently enforced by it.
It could also have a role in enforcing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, currently owned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
There are 35 questions in the consultation. It forms part of the government’s good work plans, which have recently focused on new rights and protections. “We recognise that having the right legal framework alone is not enough,” it says. “Workers need to be able to enforce their rights effectively.”
Establishing a new Single Enforcement Body for employment rights closes 6 October: https://bit.ly/2lGTpPH
By Belinda Liversedge on 09 July 2020
“We are black families, our lives matter”: Relatives of workers killed in wall collapse still waiting for justice four years on.
By Belinda Liversedge on 25 June 2020
Government will miss its deadline for removing dangerous combustible cladding from high-rise buildings, it has been revealed on the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.
By Belinda Liversedge on 23 June 2020
Three quarters of teachers are being expected to clean their own classrooms and equipment, amid concerns some schools are not implementing effective measures to control the spread of coronavirus, a survey by teachers’ union NASUWT has revealed.