IWFM believes that all work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment.
We therefore welcomed the publication in 2017 of Good Work, The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices which sets out a number of steps towards fair and decent work and contains several principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market. IWFM contributed to the Review on a number of FM-related issues including flexible working, widening the apprenticeship scheme to other training opportunities, the National Living/Minimum Wage (NLW/NMW) and zero hours contracts.
We also echo the Review’s acknowledgement that we need to develop a more proactive approach to workplace health as this is vital both for individuals and for our economy. Better designed work can also make an important contribution to tackling the complex challenge of low productivity, potentially delivering a £20 billion uplift to the UK economy (according to the Stoddart Review).
The Taylor Review included several recommendations for the Government to take forward which are relevant to our profession:
Zero hours contracts
These should be maintained as they offer flexibility to people with different needs and priorities. However, Government should develop legislation that gives agency workers and those on zero hours contracts the right to request a fixed hours contract after being employed for a long period of time and require companies above a certain size to report on how many requests for fixed hours contracts they have received (and agreed to).
Low Pay Commission (LPC)
The LPC should have a wider remit to include looking at ways to improve the quality of work across all sectors. Specifically, it should be tasked with examining how a higher NMW rate might apply to non-guaranteed hours.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
This should be reformed so that it is explicitly a basic employment right, comparable to the NMW, for which all workers are eligible from day one regardless of income.
Government should consider making the funding generated by the Apprenticeship Levy available for high-quality, off-the-job training other than apprenticeships.
Technology & Productivity
The emphasis in the industrial strategy and sector deals on technology and innovation should be linked to driving productivity and enabling more rewarding working lives, especially in lower-paid and lower-skilled sectors.
Upskilling the labour market through lifelong learning will play an important role in dealing with the challenges of automation and Artificial Intelligence.
IWFM will continue to contribute to the debate on fair and secure employment and will feed into Government proposals to ensure that any future employment changes affecting the workplace and facilities management profession will take our members’ experience and insight into account.