In addition to our standard brief of recommending rates of the National Minimum Wage, the 2018 remit for the Low Pay Commission included an additional set of tasks following the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. These were to review the scale and nature of the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’, to assess the impact of introducing a higher minimum wage for non-guaranteed hours and to consider alternative policy ideas.
This report contains our analysis of one-sided flexibility, and our recommendations. Also attached is the letter from Bryan Sanderson to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy containing our recommendations.
We did not think that a higher minimum wage for non-guaranteed hours would address the problem effectively and had the potential to create create many unintended consequences. We did not hear unqualified backing for the premium from any of the stakeholders we spoke to. We have therefore recommended an alternative package of measures:
- A right to switch to a contract which reflects your normal hours. This is not about a worker requesting a change to the amount of work they do, but rather proper recognition of their normal hours. We believe this will help to tackle the fear of employer retaliation by providing a guarantee of the worker’s normal hours. Workers already worried about raising issues in the workplace are less likely to raise a ‘request’ so the right needs to be stronger than this.
- A right to reasonable notice of work schedule – to encourage employers to provide workers with their work schedule in advance so that individuals can plan their lives.
- Compensation for shift cancellation or curtailment without reasonable notice –to discourage employers from cancelling shifts at the last minute or partway through a shift.
- Information to workers – the written statement of terms from employers should detail the rights we are proposing here.
We also recommend that the Government considers ways to specifically measure the scale of one-sided flexibility.
The Government responded to the recommendations in its Good Work Plan.