Tackling Exploitation in the Labour Market

About this consultation

This joint Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Home Office consultation seeks views on a range of proposals to improve the effectiveness of the enforcement of employment rights to protect workers from exploitation.

These include:

  • establishing a statutory Director of Labour Market Enforcement (who will set priorities for the enforcement bodies across the spectrum of non-compliance, from criminally-minded exploitation to payroll errors)
  • creating a new offence of an aggravated breach of labour market legislation
  • increasing intelligence and data sharing between the existing enforcement bodies
  • widening the remit, increasing the powers and changing the name of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to enable it to deal with serious exploitation

Background

The background to this consultation is that because of increases in both the level of participation in the labour market and the reported incidences of exploitation mean, the Government is considering the efficacy of how it tackles non-compliance with labour market regulation across the spectrum.

Proposed changes

This consultation therefore examines the ability of the current framework to deal with individuals and businesses that breach this regulation, from serious criminality to low-level non-compliance, which the Government believes is vital to protect vulnerable workers and bring benefits to the UK economy and labour market. It also fulfils the statutory requirement under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for Government to consult on the future of the Gangmasters Licencing Authority.

Consultation questions

Have your say

Please send us your responses to the BIS / Home Office consultation questions (listed below) or any other comments to consultation@iosh.co.uk by 13 November 2015:

Consultation questions:

  1. Do you agree that more needs to be done to tackle organised labour market exploitation? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons)
  2. Do you agree with the following statement? “Establishing a new Director for Labour Market Enforcement to set the strategic direction of the enforcement bodies will be effective in tackling worker exploitation.” (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons)
  3. What other factors should we consider in developing the new Director role?
  4. Do you agree that a new offence of aggravated labour law breach is needed to tackle exploitation of workers? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons)
  5. Which of the options described would be most effective in tackling labour market exploitation?
    A. create an offence involving a motivation intention to deprive a worker of their rights or to exploit a worker in connection with the commission of the offence;
    B. create a new type of improvement notice;
    C. both A) and B);
    D. None of the options.
    Please give your reasons. 
  6. What are the benefits of creating an offence involving motivation to deprive a worker of their rights? 
  7. What are the benefits of creating an offence involving motivation to exploit a worker or exploiting a worker in connection with such an offence? 
  8. What are the benefits of creating a new type of improvement notice to tackle exploitation of workers? 
  9. Do you agree on the need for powers to share data and intelligence across the enforcement bodies and with other organisations? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  10. Do you agree with the proposal to expand the role of the Authority or should we retain the current model? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  11. Do you agree that the mission of the new Authority should be to prevent, detect and investigate worker exploitation, in support of the Director’s annual plan? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons)
  12. Should the new Authority work with business to provide training, and develop codes of conduct and voluntary accreditation schemes? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  13. Should the new Authority be able to charge for such services? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  14. What other tasks might the new Authority perform? 
  15. Do you agree that the new Authority should be able to investigate labour market breaches and offences that fall under the remit of the new Director, including the new aggravated breach offence and Modern Slavery Act offences, as well as breaches of NMW / NLW and employment regulations, where they are connected with labour exploitation? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  16. Do you agree that the new Authority should have the power to investigate these offences across all sectors of the labour market? 
  17. Are the investigative powers proposed appropriate given the new Authority’s functions? (Yes/No; If No, which ones should not be available:
    - the ability to enter and search premises with a warrant authorised by a Justice of the Peace (under section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE));
    - the power to enter premises to execute an arrest warrant or for the purpose of arresting someone for an indictable offence (under section 17 PACE);
    - the power to search premises controlled by a person under arrest (under section 18 PACE);
    - the powers to search a person at time of arrest and, when a person is arrested for an indictable offence, to search the premises the person was in immediately prior to arrest (section 32 PACE);
    - the power to use reasonable force in exercise of PACE powers, (section 117 PACE); and
    - the ability to seize evidence and then sift through it under section 50 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 when exercising a power of seizure under PACE or the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004. Please give your reasons?) 
  18. Are there any additional powers the new Authority should have? Please describe and give your reasons. 
  19. Do you agree that the new Authority should be able to use Proceeds of Crime Act powers to recover criminal assets? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons). 
  20. What are the benefits of the new Authority having a formal power to ask for assistance from relevant organisations?
  21. Which organisations should this power apply to? 
  22. Should other enforcement organisations be given the ‘right to ask’ the new Authority to offer operational support? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons). 
  23. Do you agree that the current licensing criteria should be reformed? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  24. What reforms do you think would improve the current licensing regime? 
  25. Do you agree that we should introduce a more flexible approach to licensing, based on a risk assessment, judged on a sector by sector basis and agreed by Ministers and Parliament? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  26. Are there any sectors that you would remove from the current licensing regime? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons) 
  27. Will the proposed governance arrangements enable the new Authority to achieve its mission under appropriate oversight? (Yes/No/Not sure; Please give your reasons).

IOSH members wishing to also respond individually to the BIS / Home Office can do so by visiting here and responding by 7 December 2015.