Consultation underway to compensate workers facing cancelled shifts

Flexible workers may benefit from new rights and extra protections if they lose out on work.

The proposals form part of the Good Work Plan and the Government are consulting further on the proposed new measures. These include:

  • Compensation for workers when shifts are cancelled at short notice
  • Entitlement to a reasonable period of notice for their allocated shifts
  • Additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept shifts last minute

Flexible working is a feature of many industries including retail and hospitality. Recent reviews have concluded that flexible working allows people to work around their other commitments. It also gives businesses flexibility to respond to varying supply and demand and seasonal changes.  Banning zero hours contracts would therefore be detrimental to both people and businesses.

However, it was identified that the inherent flexibility of zero hours contracts can be very one-sided, with workers worrying their hours will change from week to week and unexpectedly with very short notice. Providing the business operates within the contractual agreement in place between it and the worker, the worker has very little ability or recourse to improve the security in their role.

These new rules are seeking to restore the balance and give workers greater protection and security in their hours and pay.

Workers would be entitled to “reasonable” notice of their work schedule, though what is considered reasonable is as yet unclear. This could potentially differ across industries, which would make it more complicated.

These latest proposals aim to provide workers with greater income, hours and security rather than simply compensation, with hopes they will deter cancellations, according to the government report.

The Good Work Plan, published in December 2018, includes a host of other workplace reforms. Whilst Brexit seems to have delayed legislation in these areas progressing, we are anticipating some considerable changes once the Government is able to finalise the legislation. These changes will affect all employers particularly those who use workers.

For example, from 6 April 2020, workers (not just employees) must be provided with a written statement of their particulars of employment or engagement. The right to a written statement of particulars will apply from day one for both employees and workers (it is currently 2 months from the start of employment for employees). The statement of particulars will also need to provide further information than it does currently.

Employers will need to remain aware of these forthcoming changes to ensure they remain compliant.

Do you need legal support to ensure your business is compliant? Contact Clare Thomas today for advice on 01782 200500 or email

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