Following the Taylor review of working practices two years ago (weekly LELR 602), the government has recently announced proposals to create a single labour market enforcement body.

The idea behind the body for workers and businesses would be to make it clearer for workers to know where to go for help and make it easier for them to make a complaint.

Likewise, it would provide better support and guidance for employers, with the emphasis on a compliance approach to minor breaches but tough enforcement against deliberate non-compliance.

Currently, most employment rights have to be individually enforced by workers who lodge proceedings with an employment tribunal. There are, however, a number of other bodies such as the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS), the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and the HMRC National Minimum Wage team (HMRC-NMW).

As the government points out in the consultation document, the enforcement landscape is fragmented, meaning that it can be difficult for both workers and employers to know where to go for help. The focus of the new body would therefore encompass the current remit of the EAS, GLAA and HMRC teams as well as holiday pay for vulnerable workers.

This would bring together the core employment rights where the state takes an enforcement role within one body with the ability to tackle the full range of non-compliance from minor breaches right up to modern slavery offences, along with other areas where the state can take a role such as statutory sick pay and health and safety.

The consultation is therefore seeking views on:

  • The core remit for the new body
  • The ways in which it would interact with other areas of enforcement
  • The approach to compliance
  • The powers that the body would need


Neil Todd, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “It is vital that the focus of any new body is one of protecting the most vulnerable workers’ employment rights as we continue to see far too many them exploited in their workplaces. To be able to respond effectively to the changing nature of the labour market this body will need input from various social partners like trade unions. If the single body is afforded wide enough powers with strong mechanisms for state enforcement it could be a real force for good going forward”.

The consultation closes on 6 October 2019.

To read the full document, go to: