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Government backs concept of default worker status as it responds to Taylor review

The government has detailed a new series of proposed actions to protect the rights of workers in the UK – including legislation clarifying worker status, agency workers’ rights and a proposed pilot for a national minimum wage and national living wage pay premium.

The latest response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Work and Pensions’ recommendations suggests the areas where the government will consult and potentially implement new laws.

Crucially, it seeks to offer greater clarity around employment status given the number of cases currently being pursued through the courts relating to gig economy businesses.

The government said it would look to amend the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 to remove the opt-out for equal pay, preventing organisations from recruiting workers on extended agency contracts that keep them on low pay

Government increases funding for disabled people in the workplace

Awareness of the Access to Work scheme – which provides grants to support disabled people in the workplace – needs to be increased, after the government raised the cap on funding by around £15,000.

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme set up to provide funds to help more disabled people start or stay in work. But in October 2015, the government introduced a cap on the annual grants available per person, meaning that many disabled workers – many of them deaf – saw their annual grant on disability-related work support fall to £43,100.

This move has been reversed and, from April, the annual cap on the grant will return to £57,200, and will be up-rated annually on that basis, the government said.

Businesses and public ‘strongly support’ keeping EU workers’ rights after Brexit

Britons are strongly in favour of retaining EU employment laws and regulations after the UK leaves the European Union, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), highlighted the current preference for retaining and even strengthening EU-derived working standards, including the Working Time Regulations and agency workers’ rights.

The IPPR published the poll as part of a series of briefings exploring the public’s perspective on whether the UK should continue to align with EU rules and regulations, including EU-derived employment and financial standards – or if it should seek to diverge from established legislation and distance itself from Europe’s economic and social model.

The polling revealed that 73 per cent of the public supported retaining or strengthening the Working Time Directive, while just 12 per cent favoured loosening or removing completely regulations providing equality in temporary agency worker rights.

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