Two-thirds of employers believe agency and gig workers should be able to request a stable employment contract

Two-thirds of employers (67 percent) back the introduction of a new right for agency workers and zero-hours contract workers to request a stable contract, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The findings, which form part of the CIPD’s response to the Government’s consultation on the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, are based on a survey of 1,000 employers. The survey found that 67 percent of respondents said they support the right to request a stable contract, which would potentially allow agency workers to request a permanent contract of employment and zero-hours contract workers to request regular or guaranteed hours.The CIPD believes the right to request should be available to people who have 12 months of continuous service with one organisation, a suggestion supported by 41 percent of employers. 32 percent of respondents supported a period of at least six months and 20 percent were in favour of at least three months.

The CIPD response also supports the provision of non-statutory guidance for employers on employment status, as well as more and better information to workers about their employment rights. In addition, and to tackle a culture of non-payment of employment tribunal awards by too many employers who have breached employment law, it recommends that the Government goes further to improve state enforcement of workers’ employment rights. This could include a shift to the state collecting the award on behalf of the individual and the money owed increasing if unpaid, just as it does in the case an unpaid parking ticket.

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, said: “The main practical challenge the Government faces around employment status is helping employers and individuals understand the existing law and make informed choices that best suit their circumstances. Employers agree that more needs to be done to help them and their people understand the rights and obligations attached to whether someone is an employee, worker or self-employed, and it’s imperative that the Government listens.

“The main solution is to offer better guidance and more effective enforcement of existing employment rights, which would help inform and reassure employers and individuals, and discourage abuse. We also welcome the strong employer support for a new right to allow atypical workers to request contractual stability, as it would help employers think seriously about whether flexible employment arrangements are needed and whether they are working for both parties, as well as alternative ways of achieving the flexibility they require. It’s the way that we adapt and flex to the needs of individual workers that will help us build sustainable, productive workplaces where everyone feels valued.”