Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill: What does this mean for employers?

Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill

The Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill has been introduced, with the aim of bringing both workers, employees, and any other single employment status, under the same rights and responsibilities within the workplace.

Going forward, a worker will be known as an individual who seeks to be engaged to provide labour or is engaged by another to provide labour, or where the employment has ceased, providing they aren’t operating a business on his or her own account. Whereas an employer will be referred to as such when he or she engages another to provide labour, whether this is directly or through another.

What does this mean for employers??

Abolishment of Zero Hour contracts

Going forward, workers must be provided with reasonable notice of shifts and reasonable notice of cancellation of any period of employment which has already been agreed.  Where notice has been provided orally, this will be deemed as seven days.

Where a period of employment has been accepted by a worker and this is then cancelled, without reasonable notice being provided, the worker will continue to be paid for any earnings lost during this time, and may also be entitled to be paid up to 200% of their hourly rate for this period.

Notice of Working Hours

Workers will now be entitled to be provided with fixed and regular weekly hours upon commencement of employment, which must be provided in writing, and within seven days.

Request for Additional Hours

Employers can request for additional hours, however this must not exceed 10% of the hours initially agreed within 12 calendar months, and the worker must have previously agreed to this and the circumstances in which this can be requested, in writing.

Also, if any additional hours are agreed and then cancelled, or if an unauthorised request is made by the employer, the worker is then entitled to be paid for loss of earnings, even if no work has been done, and this can be paid at a rate of up to 200% of the worker’s normal hourly rate, for the entire period.

Alterations to the Employment Rights Act 1996

This has now been amended to include “Liability for Unpaid Wages” and “Contractor Liability”.

What this means that, when the immediate employer of a worker who has been contracted to provide services on behalf of a third party, fails to pay wages to the worker, they can now legally bring proceedings for recovery of these for the period of employment. This can be inclusive of fees, bonuses, commission, sick pay, holiday pay, redundancy pay, or anything else which may be applicable.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a

member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 069 8970.

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