The creation of a single enforcement body
The CIPP policy and research team discuss the continuing developments albeit no firm implementation timeline yet exists
I n 2018, the government published the Good Work Plan (http://bit. ly/2mQkLDY) setting out a vision for the future of the labour market, including plans for implementing recommendations of the Taylor Review of Modern Workplace Practices (http://bit.ly/2mf2sIf). Amongst other things, the Good Work Plan recognised the fundamental role that enforcement plays in ensuring workers actually receive their rights. In July 2019, a consultation (http:// ow.ly/fcYj30rOvvZ) launched exploring the possibility of combining the three current market enforcement bodies: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) National Minimum Wage Enforcement, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. The move will create one instantly recognisable brand helping employers and workers to know where to go for guidance and advice, ensuring vulnerable workers receive the money to which they are entitled. The new single enforcement body will be responsible for combatting breaches relating to: ● the national minimum wage (NMW) ● modern slavery (with focus on the requirement for larger businesses to publish an annual modern slavery statement) ● employment agencies ● holiday pay for vulnerable workers, and ● statutory sick pay (SSP). Additionally, focus will be placed on the regulation of umbrella companies – an area that we have frequently seen discussed in the media over the past few months and years. Alongside protecting workers, it is hoped that the single enforcement body will create a more level playing field for businesses that comply with the law, with a clear focus placed on tackling non-compliance and targeting unscrupulous employers. Historically, the different departments
● Enhanced powers – The single enforcement body will have enhanced powers, and the authority to enforce SSP and holiday pay. New powers will also be awarded to tackle non-compliance. Some of the practices that are already carried out will continue, such as the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS’s) naming and shaming scheme, which publicly names businesses that have breached NMW rules. Undoubtedly, with enhanced data and knowledge sharing, the single enforcement body will have the ability to identify breaches more efficiently, hopefully encouraging more employers to pay their staff correctly. The body will have the ability to issue civil penalties that match current NMW breach charges – typically, 200% of the underpaid salary, ranging from anything between £100 and £20,000 per worker. Whilst we have confirmation that the single enforcement body will be created there is currently no launch date, and no estimated timeline has been provided. The official stance is that the body will be created when ’parliamentary time allows’. Many anticipated that it would be incorporated as part of a new Employment Bill, which was first referenced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019. However, there was a distinct lack of reference to this new Bill in the Queen’s Speech that was delivered in May 2021. n The CIPP’s policy team will be alert for any announcements relating to the single enforcement body, as it is undoubtedly an area that will impact the work of payroll professionals. The CIPP wholeheartedly supports anything that works to combat non- compliance and to ensure that people are paid what they are entitled to, so we are hoping it is created sooner rather than later. All that remains to say now, is watch this space!
have not worked collaboratively, but this was unintentional. By bringing the different knowledge and expertise from the different teams together, this should lead to a more co-ordinated approach to enforcement. It will also mean that data can be shared between departments more effectively. ...a more level playing field for businesses that comply with the law, with a clear focus placed on tackling non- compliance and targeting unscrupulous employers. Fast forward to June 2021, and the government released its response to the consultation (http://ow.ly/8zPO30rOfqL). This confirms that the single enforcement body will be created. The consultation response confirms that there will be four key elements to activities that the single enforcement body will undertake: ● Guidance – The body will assist employers in meeting their legal obligations and will be on hand to provide detailed technical advice on any relevant topics. ● Sharing of knowledge and data – By combining the forces of the teams, this will ensure that non-compliance can be spotted, and subsequently sorted, at a much earlier stage. ● One single brand – Workers and employers will know where they can go to seek advice or to report bad practice.
| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward | September 2021 | Issue 73 28
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