Good work plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights
We believe that low-paid and vulnerable employees should be protected through effective state enforcement, but at this time we recommend that the Gangmasters Licensing and Abuse Authority’s powers be extended to take on the role of enforcing holiday pay and umbrella companies, rather than the creation of a new single enforcement body. LITRG also thinks there needs to be a refocus on PAYE compliance and enforcement at employer level, accompanied by adequate funding for resources – something not covered in the consultation.
While the creation of a single enforcement body seems to represent a natural next step towards a more comprehensive framework of protection for workers, we question whether this is the right time to do it.
One of the driving forces behind this proposal is, no doubt, the enforcement of holiday pay and umbrella companies. We have recommended several times that the Gangmasters Licensing and Abuse Authority (GLAA) should take on this role – they already have licensing standards covering basic employment rights including holiday pay, and umbrella companies already operate in GLAA licensed sectors, so there would be no reinventing of the wheel.
Once the holiday pay/umbrella company ‘problem’ is removed, the need for the creation of a single enforcement body becomes less urgent. After all, ACAS is already there to provide a simple, single entry point in terms of the ‘user journey’ and the DLME is already having a very positive impact in enabling a more strategic and joined up approach to compliance, deterrence and enforcement.
There is a question on whether the GLAA’s licensing scheme should be expanded to other sectors at risk of exploitation by gangmasters, and our answer is yes. With regard to the question on whether a single enforcement body should have a role in any of the other areas, we take the opportunity to remind government that labour market exploitation very often manifests itself in problems with Pay As You Earn (PAYE), something that is not addressed in the consultation document at all.
Our submission can be found here: Good work plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights – LITRG response