The government has called on employers, unions and employees to pass on evidence of abuse of vulnerable workers to a joint enforcement body, which meets for the first time today (Thursday).
The Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum has been set up to crack down on abuses of workplace rights.
It will consider whether abuses are tackled effectively through existing enforcement, or whether new approaches are needed to raise compliance without increasing the burden on employers.
Evidence gathered by the enforcement bodies suggests that workers in hotels and restaurants face the highest risks, followed by healthcare, retail and construction.
Employment relations minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “While most workers have benefited from initiatives such as the national minimum wage, rights for part-time workers, statutory holidays and better health and safety there are still some who are not getting the protection they should.
“Shocking abuses still go on in a minority of workplaces. They are unacceptable and must be stopped. The forum will be looking at all evidence of where rogue employers are ignoring UK law and mistreating their workers.”
Vulnerable worker pilot projects have begun in Birmingham and east London to identify practical ways of improving the advice and support available to vulnerable workers and their employers at local level.