Most employers want stronger workers’ rights, study finds

Nearly two-thirds of businesses say that employment law should be stronger, including in raising wages.

29 Oct 2020| News

Most employers would like to see stronger employment laws that better protect workers from exploitation.

This is according to new figures from the Centre for Progressive Policy, which found that 64% of businesses are in favour of tougher restrictions on the way workers are treated, including increases in the the National Minimum Wage.

Meanwhile, a quarter of employers said they would like to see zero-hour contracts either restricted or scrapped.

Potentially exploitative casual work has rocketed in the UK since 2013, with an 80% increase in zero-hour contracts (of which there are now over a million) that provide too little work for 29% of people on them.

Further, around 10% of the workforce are now employed in the ‘gig’ economy, which often provides no employment rights whatsoever due to the use of ‘bogus’ self-employment contracts.

Rosie Stock Jones, Senior Research Analyst at CPP said: “Long before Covid, we saw the emergence of a labour market in which too many people depended on precarious jobs. But the current crisis has increased the risk of poverty to those working in them. At the same time, it has underlined the value of key workers such as carers, cleaners and couriers, many of whom are on insecure contracts.

Maintaining a system that legitimises the exploitation of society’s most important workers and contributes to rising levels of in-work poverty can no longer be acceptable.”

The CPP mirrored many of the IER’s recommendations in its call to government for stronger employment rights, including the establishment of a single enforcement body to ensure compliance by businesses with the law.