A report for the equal rights watchdog examined employment practices in the cleaning sector in England, Scotland, and Wales, to examine the experiences of cleaning operatives in terms of workplace and labour market freedoms, rights, and entitlements. The report made recommendations to address the need to improve working conditions, raise awareness of employment rights, and establish more responsible procurement practices.
Source: Wendy Sykes, Carola Groom, Philly Desai, and John Kelly, Coming Clean: The experience of cleaning operatives, Research Report 95, Equality and Human Rights Commission
The government began consultation on proposals to prevent avoidance of the ban on using exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts of employment, including actions that employees could take if they were offered such a contract. The consultation would close on 3 November 2014. The consultation document also included the government's response to an earlier consultation on zero hours contracts.
Source: Banning Exclusivity Clauses: Tackling avoidance, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
A report for the equal rights watchdog examined the experience of workers in the cleaning sector, through the lens of international standards on employment. It said there was evidence of good practice in some areas, but some employers did not comply with legal responsibilities. The report made a range of recommendations that were intended to: improve working conditions for cleaning operatives; raise awareness of employment rights; and establish more responsible procurement practices to protect the jobs and employment rights of workers in the sector.
Source: The Invisible Workforce: Employment practices in the cleaning sector ï¿½ findings report, Equality and Human Rights Commission
An article examined the connection between the demonization, exploitation, and exclusion of new migrant workers in the United Kingdom, and the key role of citizenship in their vulnerability to exploitation, and as a means to make rights claims.
Source: Mick Wilkinson, 'Demonising "the other": British government complicity in the exploitation, social exclusion and vilification of new migrant workers', Citizenship Studies, Volume 18 Number 5
A report for the equal rights watchdog examined six case studies of outsourced cleaning services to consider how the nature and influence of procurement shaped employment practices and working conditions in the commercial cleaning sector, and outlined key implications for improving policy and practice.
Source: Damian Grimshaw, Jo Cartwright, Arjan Keizer, and Jill Rubery, with Karl Hadjivassiliou and Catherine Rickard, Coming Clean: Contractual and procurement practices, Research Report 96, Equality and Human Rights Commission
A report said that the charging of fees for employment tribunals was stifling access to justice, with numbers of tribunals having fallen significantly since the fees were introduced in July 2013. It said that there had been a particularly notable effect on women. The report called on the government to act urgently to abolish the fees.
Source: At What Price Justice? The impact of employment tribunal fees, Trades Union Congress
A report provided interim findings from a research project that examined how clients of Citizens Advice Bureaux pursued their employment disputes following their first interaction with the CABx, considered the impact of tribunal fees, and explored barriers to justice. The research was ongoing.
Source: Nicole Busby, Morag McDermont, Emily Rose, Adam Sales, and Eleanor Kirk, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Employment Disputes: Interim report, University of Bristol/University of Strathclyde
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on a range of potential options to regulate or restrict the use of zero-hours contracts, including a ban on the inclusion of exclusivity clauses in contracts that prohibited workers from gaining supplemental employment. The consultation would close on 29 September 2014.
Source: Zero Hours Contracts, Northern Ireland Executive
The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for a Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill to include provisions to: regulate abuse of the national minimum wage and abuse of the zero hours contract; make changes to childcare regulations; and prevent higher paid public sector employees from retaining redundancy payments if they returned to work in the same part of the public sector within a specified time.
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
Links: Hansard | Prime Ministers Office briefing | Cabinet Office guidance | PMO/DPMO press release | NI Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | BCC press release | IFoA press release | RICS press release | Scottish Government press release | TUC press release | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was published. The Bill was designed to: regulate abuse of the national minimum wage and use of the zero hours contract; make changes to childcare regulations; and prevent higher paid public sector employees from retaining redundancy payments if they returned to work in the same part of the public sector within a specified time.
Source: Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, TSO
A paper examined the effects on wages of the implementation of the European Union directive mandating equal treatment of fixed-term and permanent workers in the United Kingdom. Drawing on data from the Labour Force Survey, it said there was no evidence that the new legislation had led to a decrease in the average wage gap between fixed-term and permanent female workers, whereas, for men, the wage gap appeared to have closed. However, the paper raised questions about the extent to which the changes could be ascribed to the new legislation.
Source: Andrea Salvatori, The Effects of the EU Equal-Treatment Legislation Directive for Fixed-Term Workers: Evidence from the UK, Institute for Social and Economic Research (University of Essex)
An article examined the impact of labour regulation on unemployment and the labour share of national income in six countries (including the United Kingdom) between 1970-2010. It said that laws protecting workers were positively correlated with labour's share of national income, but had no consistent relationship to unemployment.
Source: Simon Deakin, Jonas Malmberg, and Prabirjit Sarkar, 'How do labour laws affect unemployment and the labour share of national income? The experience of six OECD countries, 1970-2010', International Labour Review, Volume 153 Issue 1
A report examined the use of zero-hours contracts in the United Kingdom and made recommendations for change, including: clearer information for employees at the outset of their contracts; greater funding and better information sharing between enforcement agencies; a ban on the use of exclusivity clauses that prohibited workers from taking jobs elsewhere; and the right for staff on zero-hours contracts to transfer to a fixed hours contract after 12 months of employment. The report raised additional concerns about the use of zero-hours contracts in publicly-funded services, particularly social care, and recommended further changes to local authority commissioning.
Source: Vidhya Alakeson and Conor D'Arcy, Zeroing In: Balancing protection and flexibility in the reform of zero-hours contracts, Resolution Foundation
A report by a committee of MPs examined how construction firms who blacklisted employees could now make amends, and how best practice could be adopted to ensure that blacklisting was not allowed to reoccur. The report built on earlier work by the committee, which had found that employees were often blacklisted for raising health and safety concerns.
Source: Blacklisting in Employment: Addressing the crimes of the past; moving towards best practice, Sixth Report (Session 201314), HC 543, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
An article examined the unemployment consequences of employment protection law in developed (OECD) countries over the period 1990-2008. Little empirical basis was found for the argument that strictness of employment protection hurt labour through increased long-term and youth unemployment rates.
Source: Prabirjit Sarkar, 'Does an employment protection law lead to unemployment? A panel data analysis of OECD countries, 1990-2008', Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 37 Number 6