Business secretary Vince Cable has outlined plans to improve the employment status of British workers in what he describes as giving the ‘silent minority’ the same rights and security as the majority.
A new government employment review has been launched in an effort to strengthen the position of up to a million workers in the UK.
Set against a backdrop of surging popularity in the likes of zero hours contracts, which provide little security for holders, the review has a number of key targets including: working out how clear the current framework is; discovering what the options are to extend some employment rights; and determining whether there is remit to streamline this ‘very complex’ area of employment law.
Commenting on the development, business secretary Vince Cable says, ‘One of the most striking features of our recession has been the high levels of employment that our workforce has maintained during some very trying times.
‘However now the economy is firmly on the road to recovery, it is important that the fruits of the recovery are shared by all. Some types of contracts which offer fewer employment rights, and which were never designed to be widely used, have become much more commonplace.’
Cable believes that the UK needs a system that is ‘fair, simple and transparent’, one where businesses feel confident in knowing what type of contracts to hire staff on.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, interim findings are expected by the end of the year ahead of a submission of recommendations to ministers by March 2015.
Other employment developments during 2014 have included the beginnings of plans to make it illegal for exclusively clauses to be put into zero hours contracts. Under current rules, exclusively clauses mean that workers can be prevented from working for another source as they seek to guarantee a certain amount of hours. The exclusivity ban could benefit up to 125,000 workers, allowing them to seek extra income.
More on zero hours contracts:
- Zero hours contracts – A love or hate relationship
- The emergence of zero hours contracts, and their worth for SMEs
- Zero hours contracts ‘demonised’ but in need of improvement
Cable’s review on employment status also seeks to inform employers on what the rights of workforces are, so that legal challenges are not encountered.
‘Workers should not be finding out that they are not protected by law once they get to employment tribunal,’ Cable adds.
‘We need a system that is fair, simple and transparent – an environment where businesses feel more confident knowing what type of contracts to hire staff on and where individuals know their rights and have the security they deserve.’