A powerful new workers’ watchdog will be created to protect the rights of UK workers, the government confirmed today on the 8th of June.
Responsibility for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers which currently spread across 3 different bodies will be brought under one roof, creating a comprehensive new authority, which will ensure businesses that break the rules have nowhere to hide.
This ‘one-stop shop’ approach will help improve enforcement through better co-ordination and pooling intelligence.
The new watchdog will also enhance workers’ rights by providing a single, recognisable port of call for workers so they know their rights and can blow the whistle on bad behaviour.
The body will support businesses to do the right thing by their employees by providing guidance on their obligations to staff. Meanwhile, increased enforcement will make sure good businesses aren’t undercut by unscrupulous rival employers who aren’t paying or treating their workers correctly.
As well as enforcing all existing powers belonging to the 3 agencies, the new body will have a new ability to ensure vulnerable workers get the holiday pay and statutory sick pay they are entitled to – without having to go through a lengthy employment tribunal process.
The government’s plans will see the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Enforcement combined to create a single enforcement body and the new body will continue the successful Naming and Shaming scheme, which calls out companies who fail to pay workers what they are owed and can hit rogue employers with fines of up to £20,000 per worker. This enforcement activity will be extended to cover other regulations protecting the pay of workers employed through agencies or by gangmasters in the agricultural sector.
More detail can be found here: