Reach for the StaRs!
The long awaited Taylor Report is here. Led by Matthew Taylor (Chief executive of the Royal Society of the Arts), it was commissioned by the prime minister last October to consider how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business.
The scope of the review was wide ranging and the final Taylor Report itself is substantial. In order to help SME employers make sense of it, we have considered the most practical things you need to know about it, as well as giving our take on whether the report is, overall, a success.
The Taylor Report recognises the pragmatism and strength that underlies the British way of working. A key strand in Matthew Taylor’s view, is the flexibility of our work force. This, he says, must be maintained. At the same time certain inequalities in the current system need to be ironed out. Here is a run-down of the top five changes he suggests which may affect your business in the future:
Firstly, one must note the very tempestuous political context in which this report arrives (of which much has been written elsewhere – we won’t mention the “B” word). In light of that difficult political situation, we must, for now, confine ourselves to considering the report on its own terms.
In order to be called a success, the test must surely be whether the changes that are proposed would bring about a meaningful systemic change so as to modernise UK employment law. Such change is surely required in order to tackle the challenges (and some would say unfairness) posed by rapid technological advances, in particular the rise of platform based “gig” work.
The unions have already expressed disappointment at the Taylor Report and described it as a missed opportunity. But SME employers may not take the same view. Most wish to be fair to their employees (and be seen to be fair) in order to maintain good relations, with their staff and contractors. They want also to compete on a level playing field – not easy to do if tax and benefit regimes are different from one employer to another.
Overall, it would seem Taylor has passed the test. There is now, however, a real need to galvanise support both within Parliament and outside to ensure the proposals come to fruition: something that has undoubtedly been made more difficult as a result of the outcome of the General Election.
These recommendations would be a good start, but more could surely be done. What remains to be seen is whether there is the political will to make things happen.
This blog was first published in Real Business, July 2017
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