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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

HR Advice: What are the Good Work Plan and Good Work Agenda?

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, having the right HR support and advice takes on a pivotal role, especially when navigating rates of pay for employees, in this article we look at the Good Work Plan and Good Work Agenda and how this might affect your business.


The Government published their Good Work Plan in December 2018 to layout their commitment to further strengthen workers' rights after leaving the EU. More recently, the Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank, carried out research into the progression the Government has made in reducing low pay across the UK.

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The Good Work Plan and Good Work Agenda

The Economy 2030 Inquiry's Low Pay Britain 2023 report funded by the Nuffield Foundation, looked at the progress the UK was making on reducing low pay as well as how inadequate sick pay, unpredictable hours, lack of autonomy and lack of flexible working had on those on low pay.


What is the Good Work Plan 2018?


As part of the Government's Industrial Strategy they commissioned a review of the UK's employment framework, which resulted in The Good Work Plan, aimed at ensuring the success and competitiveness of the UK's labour market by preventing the erosion of UK employment law protecting workers.


The Good Work Plan detailed the Government's approach to ensuring that fair and decent work was available to all workers, placing equal importance on the quality as well as quantity of work available.

The Government accepted that "Good Work" meant different things to different people and set out the following five principles for quality of work:

  • satisfaction

  • fair pay

  • participation and progression

  • wellbeing

  • safety and security

  • voice and autonomy


What is fair and decent work?


The Good Work Plan 2018 recommended that work should be fair and decent for all employees, which offers individuals opportunities to develop and progress. Part of the Government's commitment to achieve this was to legislate to give workers the right to request more stable contracts. In line with this, the Government announced that it was backing the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill in February 2023, which gives workers, including agency and zero hours workers the right to request more predictable terms and conditions, such as the right to request a predictable working pattern.


What is meant by fair pay?


The Government has continued to review the National Living Wage to encourage fair pay for all and recently raised it from £9.50 to £10.42 per hour. In addition to this, the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 is currently going through consultation, which requires employers to give all tips, gratuities and service charge to workers without any deductions.


What does clarity mean for employers and workers?


In the 2018 Good Work Plan, the Government identified that there needed to be more transparency around the employment status of individuals. In 2020 the law therefore changed to reflect this and, in particular, in relation to written statements of terms and conditions, which were extended to include more information and were to be received by workers no later than the beginning of their employment. In addition to this, all workers, including those on zero-hours and casual contracts were entitled to receive a written statement.


The Government also legislated that agency workers who worked on a single assignment of at least 12 weeks were entitled to the same treatment as permanent employees with regard to certain term and conditions, such as basic pay.


What was the Good Work Agenda


More recently, the Good Work Agenda, further identified that those on a lower income lacked "good quality" work, such as security, autonomy, a voice in the workplace and opportunities for career progression.


According to a survey of 2,000 private-sector employees, those in the lower pay quintile are almost twice as likely as those in the highest quintile to say that they have little or no autonomy at work and are four times more likely to experience volatility in their hours and pay. In addition to this, they are over four times as likely to want more hours of work.

"We need a new Good Work Agenda that goes beyond a higher minimum wage so that workers see improvements to the quality of their jobs as well as the size of their pay packets." – Nye Coninetti, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation

The Good Work Agenda therefore proposed to:

  • Continue to increase the national living wage

  • Adopt an earnings replacement approach to sick pay, where SSP is paid at 65% of a worker’s usual earnings

  • Give workers a new right to a contract reflecting the hours they usually work, at least two weeks’ advance notice of shifts and compensation for late changes.


SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)


SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.


SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.


Free HR consultation


Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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