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Tackling non-compliance focus of government’s first labour market enforcement strategy

The UK Labour Market Enforcement (LME) Strategy for 2018/19 has been released.

The report outlines 37 recommendations to support the changing world of work. The report highlights the changes in the modern workplace, from the fall in the average workplace and the decline in trade union membership. The first report covers three of the four state enforcement bodies: HMRS NMW/ NLW, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS).

Sir David Metcalf’s, head of the LME, who complied the report, remit is to cover the whole spectrum of non-compliance, covering everything from a basic lack of understanding to criminal exploitation. He will be working with the three bodies mentioned above, which cover the range of non-compliance encountered across the board.

Key recommendations in the report include:

A statement of rights should be made mandatory for all workers from within week one of employment commencing.

More severe penalties to act as a deterrent for non-compliance

Greater use of – and publicity for – prosecutions, and undertakings and orders, to help increase the deterrent effect.

Make leading brands jointly responsible for non-compliance in their supply chains

Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA, said, “I am pleased to hear that Sir David Metcalf has heeded many of the proposals we put forward in our efforts to stamp out unethical working practices in the UK. We have been very proactive in developing our relationship with the team at the directorate of labour market enforcement and we are delighted that they have listened.

“In particular, we are pleased with the proposed measures to tackle non-compliance within the supply chain. Placing joint responsibility on end-clients and their suppliers to ensure that the whole workforce is not being exploited is a significant move to instilling good working practices; Sir David promised to punish rogue employers who undercut honest businesses so I see this as a very significant and positive move to genuinely levelling the playing field for compliant businesses.  In the past, government policy makers have simply paid lip-service to tackling the issue and have failed to heed FCSA’s warnings about the unintended consequences of unscrupulous firms exploiting the loopholes in the system. Today we have been heard. 

“It is also good to hear that there has not been a knee-jerk response to licence certain sectors at risk of labour market exploitation, namely in cleaning, care and construction and we welcome the proposal to look further into the merits of such licencing and will be contributing our insights based on our experience of non-compliance in these areas.

“We also welcome the proposal for the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate to have their powers extended to include intermediaries. FCSA has long campaigned for such regulation so that we can drive out the unscrupulous firms which have tarnished the reputation of the sector.  Without regulation we will not rid our industry of rogue businesses so it needs to be tackled head on and as a matter of urgency to allow the great many compliant intermediary businesses that provide a valued and professional service to all parties in the supply chain to thrive unhindered.”

The full report summary can be found here:

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