UK govt announces new watchdog to protect workers

Tuesday 08th June 2021 13:49 EDT

The Boris Johnson-led UK government has convened a new workers' watchdog to take over protecting the rights of workers. The new body will be responsible for tackling modern slavery, enforcement of minimum wage, and protecting agency workers. The new body aims to improve enforcement. It is also designed to provide a single, recognisable port of call for workers so they know their rights and can blow the whistle on bad behaviour.

Business minister Paul Scully said, “This government has been absolutely clear that we will do whatever we can to protect and enhance workers' rights. The vast majority of businesses want to do right by their staff, but there are a minority who seem to think the law doesn't apply to them. Exploitative practices like modern slavery have no place in society.” He added that the new watchdog would enable the government to “take action against companies that turn a blind eye to abuses in their supply chains.”

The new watchdog will make it possible for vulnerable workers to access holiday pay and statutory sick pay without having to go through a lengthy employment tribunal process. It will provide guidance to businesses on best practice, and complement existing work being carried out by independent bodies like the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

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