New labour market enforcement agency

A new workers’ watchdog – a single enforcement body for employment rights – is to be set up the government has confirmed.

In its response to a consultation, the government has confirmed that it will press ahead with setting up such a body, the idea for which was first mooted in the Good Work Plan in December 2018. The government hasn’t committed to a time scale, saying simply that it’ll be set up via primary legislation ‘when Parliamentary time allows’.

The key features of the new body are:

  • It will combine the existing Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Enforcement.
  • There will be a single regulatory body for tackling modern slavery, national minimum wage breaches and ensuring vulnerable workers get the statutory holiday and SSP to which they are entitled.
  • The aim of the new body is to improve enforcement and ensure both employees and businesses know where to go for help on workers’ rights. The new body will provide guidance on best practice and will seek to build strong links with community and worker groups to spread awareness and support engagement with at-risk groups, including the low-paid.
  • Action will be taken against businesses who turn a blind eye to abuses in their supply chains.
  • The current naming and shaming scheme will continue to highlight employers who fail to pay their workers what they are owed and extend to cover other regulations protecting the pay of workers employed through agencies or by gangmasters in the agricultural sector.