A Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum has been set up to bring together experts from unions, business, enforcement and advice bodies to look at the best way to protect workers.
The government defines a vulnerable worker as someone working in an environment where the risk of being denied employment rights is high, and who does not have the capacity or means to protect themselves from that abuse.
The forum will be chaired by employment relations minister Jim Fitzpatrick. It will include representatives from unions, business groups, enforcement bodies, including Revenue and Customs and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said: “All workers deserve decent minimum standards – a minimum wage, the right to paid holidays or the right to work in a safe environment.
“We need to protect vulnerable workers. I want to make sure that if abuses occur they are dealt with as soon as possible. By bringing together employers and unions we can identify how to strengthen enforcement.”
Two pilot projects in Birmingham and London will be launched to identify ways that vulnerable workers and their employers can better understand their rights and access the help, advice and information out there.
The pilots will run for two years and have been funded with up to £800,000 from the government.