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A Single Enforcement Body for Employment Rights

The Government has recently published their response to a consultation “The Good Work Plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights” which they ran from July to October 2019.  The Government was seeking feedback on their proposal to bring together three existing labour market enforcement bodies; HMRC National Minimum Wage Enforcement; the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority; and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate into a single enforcement body.

The consultation received 111 responses in addition to feedback from 10 roundtable discussions held for stakeholders and talks held for affected staff of the enforcement bodies.

74% of respondents did not think that the current system of enforcement was effective.  Some respondents were against the proposals but overall, most of respondents were in favour of a new enforcement body.

Some of the concerns raised were in connection with sufficient funding being available and how the new body would be set up.

The creation of a new enforcement body will be subject to Government approval based on the presentation of a business case as well as Primary legislation. 

The new enforcement body will have an extensive remit which will encompass the following:

  1. National Minimum Wage & National Living Wage
  2. Domestic regulations relating to employment agencies
  3. Umbrella companies which fall outside of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate
  4. Licences to supply temporary labour in high-risk sectors in agriculture and the fresh food chain
  5. Labour exploitation and modern slavery
  6. Holiday pay for vulnerable workers
  7. Statutory Sick Pay
  8. Modern Slavery statements
  9. Unpaid employment tribunal awards

Part of the new enforcement body’s remit will be to provide employers with the support and guidance on best practice and to tackle non-compliance. They will also be building on existing work to promote the rights of workers so that they are better informed.

The new body will continue with the successful Naming and Shaming scheme which publishes the names of companies who fail to pay their workers what they are owed and penalise rogue employers with fines of up to £20,000 per worker.   The Government’s full response to the consultation can be viewed here.

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