New helpline launched for vulnerable employees

New helpline launched for vulnerable employees
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 22:10

The Government has today launched a Pay and Work Rights helpline designed to help vulnerable workers seek advice on employment rights and to help them report any abuse of those rights. Specifically, it will offers advice on employment regulation issues which include National Minimum Wage, the working time directive, employment agency standards and gangmaster licensing.

The new employee helpline is part of a campaign to raise awareness of rights within the workplace. The government and various enforcement agencies have developed the helpline in conjunction with employers and trade unions, representing a simplification of the previous regime where as many as five separate bodies could be involved with one complaint.

Pat McFadden, the Business Minister, commented: By consolidating the current complex system of different helplines for different issues into one single number we are making it easier for workers to report abuses and for government to respond. We want to transfer the burden of navigating the system from the worker to the government. This is an important step, and we are determined that the recession does not become an excuse to deny people their basic rights at work.

Asked for comment on the new helpline Tom Hadley of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said: "The minority of rogue providers who mistreat workers are also in the business of undercutting legitimate agencies. The REC has consistently called for better enforcement of existing regulations and for a more joined-up approach by different Government inspectorates. Today's launch is a step in the right direction and co-incides with the REC's own Serious About Standards campaign as well as ongoing work with employers to promote good practice in the supply chain."

Fola Tayo, the REC Head of Professional Standards, added: "Making it easier for workers to flag up clear examples of bad practice is crucial and will put the spotlight on those providers who knowingly and systematically breach regulations.

More details about the helpline are available at

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