New Government watchdog to protect workers’ rights
9th June 2021
The Government is creating a new workers' watchdog to tackle modern slavery, enforce the minimum wage and protect agency workers, responsibilities that are currently spread across three different bodies.
The new body will also inherit all the other responsibilities of the three agencies, while gaining the new ability to ensure vulnerable workers get the holiday pay and statutory sick pay they are entitled to without having to go through an employment tribunal process.
Plans will see the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC's National Minimum Wage Enforcement combined into a single body.
Business minister Paul Scully lauded the proposal, saying:
"This new workers' watchdog will help us crack down on any abuses of workers' rights and take action against companies that turn a blind eye to abuses in their supply chains, while providing a one-stop shop for employees and businesses wanting to understand their rights and obligations."
Andy McDonald, shadow employment rights and protections secretary, criticised the Government for "undermining workers' rights" and "cutting funding for enforcement bodies" over the last decade.
"Without outlawing fire and rehire and strengthening employment rights, this announcement falls well short of providing all workers with the decent and secure employment they deserve."
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