The new proposals could benefit millions of employees across sectors like hospitality and retail.
Jane Imrie

Workers to receive compensation for lost shifts under new government reforms

Proposed government reforms could see businesses have to pay compensation to workers if they lose out on shifts.

The new proposals are part of the government’s Good Work Plan, a major review of workers’ rights, and could benefit millions of employees across sectors like hospitality and retail, where shift work and zero-hour contracts are widely used.

Under these new reforms, workers would be entitled to compensation from their employers when shifts are cancelled at short notice, as well as a ‘reasonable’ period of notice for their allocated shifts.

The government would also see additional protections put in place for workers who are penalised for not accepting shifts last-minute.

Low Pay Commission Chair Bryan Sanderson commented: “We are delighted to see the government taking forward our recommendation to consult on these measures.

“Last year we looked at the data on one-sided flexibility and talked to workers and businesses across the UK. Our report, published in December, found that shift cancellations and short notice of work schedules were significant problems, especially for low-paid workers.

“The proposed changes, part of a package of policies we suggested, have the potential to improve work and life for hundreds of thousands of people.”

The announcement of these latest proposals follows the news that the government is considering making flexible working a right for every employee.

Business Secretary Greg Clark added: “Innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities, providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.

“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly.

“We are the first country in the world to address modern working practices and these protections will cement the UK’s status as a world-leader in workers’ rights.”

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