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The Good Work Plan – how the care sector might be affected

“… the biggest shake up of employment law in a generation.”

As part of a broader programme of employment law reforms, known as The Good Work Plan, there are a number of policies due to come into force on April 6 2020.

Based on research commissioned by the government, the aim of these changes is to better protect the growing number of people working under casual and self-employed and self-employed arrangements.

The reforms have not been designed to restrict flexibility, rather make it easier for people to understand and enforce their rights and give greater clarity on the terms of engagements.

How these changes will impact the care sector

Though the changes will affect every single business in the UK, the care sector will be one of the industries most impacted.

The key issue at the heart of these reforms is that of correctly identifying the employment status of those who work for your business, as this status governs their employment rights. In the care sector, it may be that individuals are used initially on a casual basis but, through more regular use, become more integrated within your business – to such an extent that they are classed as ‘employees’ and the rights this entails.

According to the Skills For Care report published in October t is estimated that one-quarter of carers are currently on zero-hour contracts. The new proposals may grant flexible workers who have been with the same employer for more than twelve months the right to request a more stable contract of employment. It could be that care workers don’t wish to exercise this right, but some may want greater certainty on the terms of their employment. However, some carers may wish to request a contract which puts their pattern of work in writing; employers will be required to review their hours, as well as consider required work in the future, and, where reasonable, provide a contract. The proposed changes could also provide better access to certain employment rights, such as holiday pay.

Another significant change will be the method for holiday pay calculations. Currently, for flexile workers, an average is taken of the previous 12 weeks worked; it is proposed that this will be changed to the average over the previous 52 weeks worked. Other changes in the pipeline include ongoing consultants to tackle unfair flexible working practice – including the proposal to introduce the right to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for cancelling shifts at short notice.

For a thorough overview of the Good Work Plan and upcoming changes for 2020 and beyond, read this blog post from HR & Employment Law experts and our partner, Citation.

Are care employers aware of the changes and prepared for them?

Recent research from Citation indicated that many employers don’t even know what the Good Work Plan is, let alone feel prepared for the changes.

Given the scale of the impact these reforms will have on the care sector, it is important that both employees and employers get to grips with how these changes will affect them.

To support with this, Citation’s team have created an in-depth white paper, which can be downloaded here, that seeks to clarify what employers should be proactively doing.

Got any questions?

Give Citation’s friendly team a call today on 0345 844 1111 to receive free advice from their team, or get in touch here – don’t forget to mention you’re a Care England member when enquiring.

Alternatively, visit citation.co.uk/good-work-plan to read the latest guidance and advice.