Business and Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2023.
Whether it remains her Department’s policy to bring forward an employment Bill.
The best thing we can do to help people with employment is to have a strong economy with low unemployment, and I am pleased to say that we have both. Although there is no employment Bill, the Government are supporting six private Members’ Bills to deliver on our manifesto commitments: helping new parents and unpaid carers, giving employees easier access to flexible working and giving workers the right to request a more predictable working pattern. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 has also now completed its journey.
According to Stop Hurt at Work, 27% of employees experience bullying or harassment at work. There is no legal definition of workplace bullying and no simple path to restitution. Although we have been promised employment legislation by this Government since 2017, and in the light of Matthew Taylor’s “Good work” report, we have not seen an employment Bill in this Parliament to protect workers at work. Can we expand employment rights in legislation to ensure that there is a clear path to restitution for people experiencing bullying at work?
I point out that the unemployment rate in York is at a record low of 1.4%, which is below the national average, as I am sure the hon. Lady would welcome.
Since the good work plan was published, the Government have taken forward a wide range of commitments, including giving all workers the right to receive a statement of their rights on day one and the right to request a more predictable working pattern. I am very happy to meet the hon. Lady following these questions to discuss the points she raises.
Ministers have promised an employment Bill more than 20 times, but they have consistently failed to deliver. It seems that not a week goes by without a company in the gig economy announcing that it is stripping back workers’ rights and protections, presumably because they are confident that this Government will not legislate to introduce protections in the gig economy. Will the Minister come clean on the Government’s plans? If they are not going to bring in any protections for gig economy workers, will he now apologise to them for another failed promise?
Paying the national living wage is the law, and failing to pay workers the correct wage can result in significant fines, public naming and, for the most serious offences, criminal prosecution. The national living wage applies to all those who are classified as employees or limb (b) workers. If an individual feels that their employment status has been misclassified, they have the right to go to an employment tribunal.