Date: 11th October 2016
In her initial speech as PM Theresa May talked about job security and life being a struggle (for more on the PM’s first speech see our article – Brexit-What’s the impact), Ms May repeated these sentiments during the recent Conservative party conference in Birmingham at the beginning of the month and went further by suggesting not only would workers’ rights be protected during her time as Prime minister but they would even be enhanced.
It has been announced that the Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an employment review to be conducted by the Chief Executive of RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) Matthew Taylor.
Taylor has an interesting and varied background both inside and outside of the political arena. Appointed by Tony Blair as Head of Number 10 Policy Unit after time as Campaign Coordinator and Director of policy during the 1997 general election and as the Director of left of centre think tank ‘The institute of Public Policy Research’. In 2006 Taylor left the labour party to take the position of Chief executive of the charity RSA which is known for being an enlighten, apolitical organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges.
With this background hopefully Taylor will be the right man for the job bring years of varied knowledge and experience which will allow him to approach the review with a broad outlook and the best interests of business owners, employers and employees in mind throughout.
So what impact will the review actually have on employee and employer rights? To be honest, at this stage, it is impossible to tell, no one can be sure, it is, after all, a review.
The review proposed appears to be partially wide-ranging.
Information taken from the RSA Website states that the review will look at:
“ways to ensure the regulatory framework surrounding employment. and the support provided to businesses and workers is keeping pace with changes in the labour market and the economy.”
However as previously stated the review is just that, a review, issues can be identified and recommendations may be made, giving everyone hope that positive things will happen as a result and changes and recommendations will be implemented but there is no requirement for actual decisions or proposals.
We have all experienced government reviews previously, they are renowned for being drawn out over many months if not years and often insubstantial, providing a lack of concrete answers and defined proposals for change.
The cynical amongst us may suggest that this is a delaying or stalling tactic by the conservative government to curry favour with the voting public and business owners until the next general election.
Obviously, there is also the ever-present elephant in the room, Brexit, and the uncertainty of when Britain will leave the EU what the relationship between our country and the wider European union will look like and how that will affect businesses as a whole, not just with regards to employment law.
Employment Lawyers are partially interested in the review as it will look at the growth in ‘non-standard’ forms of employment and the extent to which these have undermined employment rights. The review will also look at whether current employment status definitions need to be brought up to date to reflect new ways of working.
Much of what the review will be focusing on has been looked at previously by government, business owners, employers and employees will need to await the completion of the review to see what impact if any it will bring.
Many people within the business community and government that the review will result in strong concrete proposals that will help to ensure that vulnerable workers will get the genuine protection they need in order to stop them falling through the current cracks in employment rights.
However, with the unknown misty shadow of Brexit and all its possible employment law and employment rights impacts, there is no guarantee that the report even if it does make strong concrete proposals will be implemented before the next general election if, indeed, at all.
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