By David Hanson MP / Latest News / 0 Comments

Hanson Welcomes Vulnerable Workers Helpline

Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed the launch of a new national helpline to protect vulnerable workers: 0800 917 2368

The new Pay and Work Rights helpline is part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of workplace rights. It will provide a unified point of contact for both employers and workers.

David Hanson said:

“This Government has a very strong record on promoting, championing and legislating for workplace rights and I’m proud to have played a part in that in Parliament. This new hotline makes it easier than ever for vulnerable workers and employers to ask questions about the rules we have brought in and to report bad or illegal practice whenever it occurs”

Business Minister, Pat McFadden said:

“This Government has done a lot to improve rights at work but it’s also essential to make sure these rights are properly enforced. A simple system for reporting abuses and giving advice and information to employers and workers is a critical part of that.

“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”.

The hotline number is 0800 917 2368 and is now in operation.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1.                  The helpline proposal was an outcome from Labour Minister Pat McFadden’s     Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum which reported last year.  This work is overseen by the Fair Employment Enforcement Board (FEEB) which includes the CBI, TUC, FSB, Unite, CAB, REC, and representatives from the enforcement agencies.

2.                  The helpline number is 0800 917 2368. The textphone number is 0800 121 4042.  Information is also available on direct.gov.uk/payandworkrights and businesslink.gov.uk/payandworkrights.

3.                  The National Minimum Wage is enforced by HM Revenue and Customs, the Agricultural Minimum Wage by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Working Time (48 hour average working week) by the Health and Safety Executive (and local authorities), Employment agency standards by BIS’s Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) and Gangmaster licensing by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). The wider set of employment rights (e.g. holiday pay, grievances) is enforced through application by an individual to an employment tribunal.

4.                  Free advice on wider employment matters is available from Acas, the employment relations service. Their helpline, 08457 47 47 47, gives confidential, impartial advice and guidance on a wide range of work rights. Acas also helps employers and employees settle claims to employment tribunals.

5.                  The over arching awareness raising campaign is in the second of its three years.  The first year targeted agency workers, and led to an increase of 300 per cent in calls to the EAS helpline.

6.                  On 1 October 2009 the new rates for the National Minimum wage will come into effect. The rate is rising to £5.80 per hour for workers aged 22 and over, £4.83 for 18-21 year olds and £3.57 for those aged 16 and 17.  From 1 October 2009 new agricultural minimum wage rates also apply from £5.81 per hour for workers of school leaving age and above.

7.                  A “vulnerable worker” is defined as someone who has little knowledge of their rights, finds it hard to access advice, and does not have the capacity to protect themselves against rights abuses.

8.                  The poll results are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2462 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 2nd September 2009.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

9.                  The Fair Treatment at Work Survey, published by BIS on 11 September 2009, provides further information on people’s knowledge and awareness of employment rights.  It supports the view that there are a number of vulnerable groups who are less aware of their rights than the general population.