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Consultation on measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market

16 May 2018

Consultation on measures to increase transparency in the UK labour market - full report. [ 180 kb]

The rapid pace of change in the jobs market means it is often difficult for people to understand their rights and entitlements. Existing employment law was largely designed for a very different labour market. As working patterns and work practices change, gaps and grey areas can emerge which make it difficult for workers to enforce their rights.

Citizens Advice therefore welcomes the proposals set out in this consultation which we believe will help improve transparency around pay and entitlements for workers in the modern workforce, as well as bringing some rights of non-permanent employees in line with those of permanent employees.

We agree that both individuals and businesses would benefit from greater transparency around contractual arrangements between employers and workers. Better awareness of pay and entitlements amongst workers makes it easier for them to enforce their employment rights. Proposals such as a right to request a direct contract will create more pressure on employers to improve employment practices.

However, we also believe the Government needs to go further than these proposals in order to improve the overall quality of work in the UK. Large employers should be required to publish information such as the proportion of their workforce on different types of contract, or the number of requests for guaranteed hours they receive. This would encourage businesses to engage in discussion about job quality and the overall shape of their workforce, as well as helping them to adapt their practices to attract and support workers in a variety of employment types.

Employment rights are only as strong as our ability to enforce them. It is not clear which enforcement body will facilitate and enforce the new rules proposed in this consultation document. We know that workers are already put off from enforcing their rights because they find the process confusing. We believe 1 creating a Fair Work Authority - bringing together the specialisms and responsibilities of existing bodies - would help Government realise the benefits of greater transparency. For example, the proposal to extend the right to a written statement opens up new opportunities for large-scale enforcement for an organisation which could be both proactive and reactive.