Experts welcome the government’s review into the future of work
The Prime Minister has launched a review into the future of work, exploring ways the government can best support a thriving UK labour market.
MP Matt Warman will be leading the review, which forms part of the government’s mission to help create a highly-skilled workforce that contributes to a high productivity and high-wage economy.
As part of the review, Warman will look at the short and medium-term barriers and challenges faced by the labour market as well as access to jobs.
In announcing the launch, Boris Johnson said: “Tackling the economic challenges of today means helping more people into high-wage, high-skilled jobs and this review will look at how we can equip people with the skills they need to thrive in the workplace no matter where they’re from.”
Review must build on the work done by Matthew Taylor
Warman added that the nature of work is “changing at a rapid pace” and “businesses big and small have evolved how they work hugely in the last two years.”
Responding to the news, Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at self-employment trade body, IPSE, said: “We are delighted the government has launched this review and we look forward to contributing to the report’s findings.
“Technological changes such as automation and virtual working, as well as a shift in attitudes to work which has been compounded by the pandemic, mean that traditional 9-to-5 employment is likely to become less common.
“It is essential that policy makers understand these changes, so that they can design public policy around how people increasingly want to shape their working lives.”
Chamberlain went on to add that it hopes the review “builds on the work done by Matthew Taylor in 2017.”
“Freelancers and the self-employed have always played a key role in lifting the UK out of economic downturns and can play an even bigger role in the labour market of tomorrow,” he explained.
Government must use opportunity to close ‘loopholes’ in law
“If harnessed effectively, the dynamism and flexibility which is inherent in freelancing can drive economic growth, not just for the individuals who choose this way of working, but for the country as a whole.”
The announcement of the reviews comes after the employment bill was noticeably absent from the Queen’s speech last week.
The bill, if and when it does go through parliament, is expected to cover a number of measures including flexible work rights, the creation of a single enforcement body (SEB) to help protect the rights of those working via umbrella companies and the provision of the right to request a more stable contract.
Rebecca Seeley Harris, chair of the employment status forum, said the “loopholes in law” which allow umbrella organisations to exploit workers “desperately need to be closed and the creation of the SEB would have been a good step towards this.”
“Even without an employment bill, it is hoped that the government will still look to close the loopholes such as the abuse of the ‘use it or lose it’ holiday pay scams, where the law is woefully behind current employment practices,” she added.