Protecting workers and businesses
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Released 5 Nov 2008
Business groups, unions and the government joined forces today for the first
meeting of the Fair Employment Enforcement Board.
The Board will lead the fight to protect vulnerable workers from the minority
of unscrupulous employers who exploit their staff and undercut their
Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:
"Workers in the UK enjoy better rights than in the past, but there are still
some unacceptable cases of rogue employers mistreating their staff.
"We must safeguard workers' rights and ensure unscrupulous employers cannot
prey on those who are desperate to earn a living in difficult times.
"Denying workers basic rights on wages, leave and conditions is not only
illegal, but cheats the majority of honest businesses. These practices must be
The new Board brings together government enforcement bodies, unions, business
leaders, and Citizens Advice to ensure effective enforcement of the law.
The Board's first activities will be to:
- Oversee the launch of a single enforcement helpline to report cases of
- Oversee a significant and sustained campaign to raise workers' awareness
of their basic employment rights
Also this week, the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate (EAS) has
begun a campaign to inform agency workers of their rights.
An information booklet is being distributed to vulnerable workers and advice
bodies, and is also available at http://direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Typesofworkoremployment/DG_10027514
Richard Dunstan, Employment Policy Officer for Citizens Advice, said:
"Citizens Advice is delighted to join the Fair Employment Enforcement Board.
"A great many of the clients we see with employment problems are vulnerable
workers, who face great difficulty in enforcing their rights and who will
benefit greatly from the single telephone gateway to the enforcement bodies that
the Board will oversee."
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
"The TUC's Commission on Vulnerable Employment found workers across the UK
who are trapped in a continual round of low-paid and insecure work where
mistreatment is the norm.
"Many, including agency workers and home workers, do not enjoy their proper
legal rights including the minimum wage, working time limits and paid holidays.
"We welcome these moves to improve enforcement of existing rights and make
sure that workers and their bosses know their rights and obligations. A single
contact point and closer joint working were calls made by the TUC Commission and
we are pleased to see the Government respond."
Katja Hall, Director of Employment Policy, CBI, said: "The UK has a strong
and extensive framework of employment law and there should be no hiding place
for rogue employers who block their staff from benefiting from it.
"There are many misconceptions about vulnerable working, and we are pleased
that the Government will look further at this complicated issue.
"We support targeted enforcement to drive out those who gain an unfair
competitive advantage by exploiting their staff. However, such enforcement must
not raise the costs of business for the vast majority of compliant firms.
"There must also be more effective advice and guidance available for those
firms - particularly SMEs - who want to comply."
1. Establishing a Fair Employment Enforcement Board was one of the measures
recommended in the final report of the Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum. The
Board will oversee key projects set out in the conclusions of the Forum.
2. The Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum was established to examine abuses
of employment law. It reported in August 2008, after working with the government
over the previous year.
- Establishing a Fair Employment Enforcement Board
- Creating a single telephone helpline for vulnerable workers to report
abuses to the government's workplace enforcement agencies
- The launch of a sustained campaign to raise awareness of employment rights
issues and encourage workers to report abuses
3. A vulnerable worker is someone working in an environment where the risk of
being denied employment rights is high and who does not have the capacity or
means to protect themselves from that abuse.
4. The Fair Employment Enforcement Board includes:
- Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden (chairman)
- HM Revenue and Customs
- Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate
- Health and Safety Executive
- Gangmasters Licensing Authority
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Confederation of British Industry
- Trades Union Congress
- Federation of Small Businesses
- Citizens Advice
5. Information on the TUC's Commission on Vulnerable Employment can be found
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for
Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-11-06 12:13:50 in Employee Articles