A Bill that seeks to create a single status of worker under UK employment legislation has moved a step closer to becoming law, but a Conservative peer has suggested that ministers would not support it.
Lord Hendy QC’s Status of Workers Bill, passed its third reading in the House of Lords last week, and will now head to the House of Commons to be debated by MPs.
If taken forward, the bill would create a single worker status, thereby entitling every individual who carries out work for another party to employment rights such as sick pay and holiday pay.
Lord Hendy told Personnel Today that simplifying how workers were categorised would help tackle the issue of “bogus” self-employment and prevent organisations from forcing individuals into setting up personal service companies in order to cut costs.
However, at the Bill’s third reading on Friday (28 January), business minister Lord Callanan said the government is “not convinced that the Bill is the right course of action” and suggested ministers would not support it.
“The government are not convinced that the Bill is the right solution to give greater protection to those in insecure work. We will continue to take steps to protect vulnerable workers, delivering on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business,” Lord Callanan said.
Status of Workers Bill
Lord Hendy said that the Bill had received wide support so far. “I of course understand the position of the minister in being unable to support it, but he stands alone in this. If the Bill is passed it will… render great justice to hundreds of thousands of workers who are wrongly classified, and thereby deprived of the statutory rights which Parliament has bestowed on working people.
“It will also provide, in accordance with the government’s policy, a levelling-up process by which all employers will stand on a level playing field in the engagement of their workforce,” he said.
The government has previously stated its intentions to reform workers’ rights through its Employment Bill, which is yet to be taken forward.