From education to employment

REC writes to Business Secretary to support more considered approach to post-Brexit employment regulation

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The government has halted plans to ditch all remaining EU laws by the end of the year and is taking a more focussed approach to reform. The Business Secretary has also announced a focus on employment related policy, including the Working Time Regulations, which the REC has advocated changes to for some time.

Regulation around how people are employed, and successive case law judgements relating to that regulation, have had a major impact on recruiters’ ability to place people with clients in a timely and consistent way, says REC.

In a letter sent to Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for the Department for Business and Trade, today (Friday), the REC is supportive of the Secretary of State’s updated policy. But the REC has also urged Kemi Badenoch to make every effort to consult quickly, widely and effectively with business, offering the support of REC which represents over 3,000 recruitment agencies who are helping clients affected by Brexit, in every sector from health to HGV.

In the letter, Kate Shoesmith, REC Deputy Chief Executive, said:

“The clarity over the timeline for Retained EU Law Bill that this brings to employers and

workers alike is crucial and as you rightly state, the government now needs to work with

business to introduce new UK specific legislation that balances regulation with the ability for

businesses to grow. A vital component of this growth relates to employment strategies.

“As a first step, it was good to see that Working Time is in focus for the government. Introduced in 1998, Working Time Regulations came into being in a vastly different labour market and successive case law judgements have sometimes impeded our ability in industry to navigate and translate the regulations into workable practice. Rolled up holiday pay is just one area where we need clarity. Likewise, any changes to the regulation here needs to sit alongside guidance that ensures individuals continue to take rest breaks, and that they are encouraged to take suitable annual leave.”

Further commenting in addition to the letter, Kate Shoesmith said:

“We’ve written to the Business Secretary to offer our industry insight and expertise to make future regulation of the labour market effective. REC member voices matter because they place more than a million temporary agency workers, contractors and freelancers out on assignment on any given day and source a million people for new permanent jobs every year.

“The announcement from Kemi Badenoch comes as many businesses are at a tipping point, not just in terms of post-Covid resilience but also on dealing with worker shortages in general, with the UK economy standing to lose up to £39 billion in GDP every year from 2024 unless business and governments act on labour shortages.

“There were some very specific proposals from the Business Secretary around introducing rolled up holiday pay and non-compete clauses, and the REC will be consulting widely with our membership to understand their views on this to inform our upcoming conversations with government officials.”

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