Better routes to progress in work and providing employment benefits are some of the recommendations listed in a government report of employment practices.
According to the Taylor Review, the UK’s economy should be “fair and decent” and that “fairness demands” employees, particularly those on lower incomes, had routes to progress in work.
The 115-page report also says businesses that control and supervise their workers should pay a range of benefits, including National Insurance.
The review also found that strategies must be put in place to make sure workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage, and that the government should avoid increasing non-wage costs of employing a person, such as the apprenticeship levy.
Matthew Taylor, who authored the review, said there was often too much power in the hand of employers and called for an end to one-sided flexibility.
“One-sided flexibility is where employers seek to transfer all risk onto the shoulder of workers in ways that make people more insecure and makes their lives harder to manage,” he said.
“It’s the people told to be ready for work or travelling to work, only to be told none is available.”
Responding to the Taylor Review, British Retail Consortium (BRC) business regulation director Tom Ironside said it “rightly identified the need to address the quality of employment alongside quantity” and welcomed the “thrust” of many of its recommendations.
“This is something the BRC are already working on with members – the design and delivery of better jobs across the retail industry is the vision for our Retail 2020 campaign,” he said.
“Retail is the largest private sector employer and while the vast majority of people are employed as employees, it is sensible to ensure that where other employment relationship do exist all individuals receive appropriate legal protections, while retaining flexibility.
Ironside added: “In relation to expanding the Low Pay Commission‘s remit to consider wider quality indicators, the retail industry is already tracking progress on employee engagement as part of a Retail Dashboard, launched by the BRC earlier this year.
“Our data so far gives an early indication of an upward trend in employee engagement levels.
“Improved motivation and satisfaction of the retail workforce go hand in hand with the shared commitment by government and industry to become more productive and with the industry‘s vision of better jobs.”
Samantha Silva, division manager at retail recruitment specialists Quest Search & Selection, told Retail Gazette that the Taylor Review would be met by some employers with mixed opinions, as they rely on a flexible workforce.
“Ultimately retailers will now need to be transparent about how they employ people,” she said.
“The retail industry in the UK employs 2.7 million people and this news is encouraging regarding career development, engagement and also increased job satisfaction from a number of these different recommendations from the report.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has said the government would take the review’s recommendations seriously.