The beginning of 2020 arrived with the opportunity for the CBI to input into the Director for Labour Market Enforcement’s (DLME) 2020/21 strategy. The DLME is currently responsible for setting the priorities for the Employment Standards Agency Inspectorate (EAS), the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), and the minimum wage enforcement team at HMRC.
This role could evolve with the commitment in the 2019 Queen’s Speech to introducing a Single Labour Market Enforcement Body. This may see these enforcement agencies merged, practices changed, and the remit of the DLME expanded. So, this year’s call for evidence represented a critical opportunity for the CBI to highlight the priorities of the business community and shape the enforcement landscape.
Labour market enforcement is an important topic for UK businesses. When working properly, it ensures a level playing field for them to compete on by protecting compliant firms from being undercut by those that ignore the rules. CBI members have long been supportive of measures that improve the way that employment laws are enforced.
In the call for evidence, the DLME requested views on enforcement in four high-risk sectors (agriculture, construction, hand car washes, and social care) and thoughts on how enforcement practices overall could be improved.
The CBI called on the DLME to prioritise:
- Delivering an enforcement culture that balances helping willing businesses to follow the rules with firm penalties that act as a deterrent against non-compliance
- Lobbying the government for umbrella companies to be brought under the remit of the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate, as promised in the Good Work Plan
- Advocating increased investment in the employment tribunal system to ensure it fulfils its role as an easily accessible, speedy and inexpensive resolution system
- Introducing a system of joint responsibility for employment law breaches in supply chains, co-created with a broad range of stakeholders.
You can read the CBI’s full submission here.
In the coming weeks, the CBI will be meeting with enforcement leads at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss our submission and priorities for the UK enforcement system.
The CBI is always keen to hear about your experiences with the enforcement agencies or the tribunal system as it helps to inform our positions. To share your views, or if you have any questions about this CBI submission, please get in touch.