BEIS tackles ‘one-sided’ flexible working

The government is to consult on proposed  measures to improve employment conditions for flexible workers, including compensation for short-notice cancellations, as part of the government’s Good Work Plan

The proposals issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also include entitlement to a reasonable period of notice for allocated shifts, and additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept shifts at the last minute.

Bryan Sanderson, chair of the Low Pay Commission (LPC), said: ‘We are delighted to see the government taking forward our recommendation to consult on these measures.

‘Last year we looked at the data on one-sided flexibility and talked to workers and businesses across the UK. Our report, published in December, found that shift cancellations and short notice of work schedules were significant problems, especially for low-paid workers.’

Often used in service industries such as couriers and hospitality, and in the retail sectors, the Taylor review found that zero hours contracts work for the majority of those on them giving them the flexibility they wanted, but recommended that the LPC should examine the issue of one-sided flexibility.

The LPC survey found nearly 40% of UK workers say that their hours can vary from week to week, with approximately 1.7m individuals feeling anxious that their working hours could change unexpectedly.

BEIS says the proposed reforms will allow flexible workers to retain the autonomy that suits them, while allowing businesses to continue using them to cope with peaks in demand.

The consultation closes on 11 October.

BEIS consultation, Good Work Plan: one-sided flexibility - addressing unfair flexible working practices

Pat Sweet | 25-07-2019

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