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Business Minister launches new Pay & Work Rights helpline

22
Sep '09
Vulnerable workers will be able to seek advice about their workplace rights and report abuses of those rights through a new helpline launched by Business Minister Pat McFadden.

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

It has been developed in cooperation with employers, trade unions and the different enforcement agencies across Government.

The employment rights in question are:

• National Minimum Wage
• Agricultural Minimum Wage
• Working Time (48 hour average working week)
• Employment agency standards
• Gangmaster licensing

Previously calls on each of these rights were taken by five separate Government bodies. Workers can now report abuses of these rights to one point of contact that can address multiple complaints.

The launch of the single helpline comes as a new poll showed that nearly half of people (48 per cent) wrongly thought employment agencies can charge workers a fee for finding them a job.

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 helpline is based in Manchester and staffed by specialist, trained advisors able to offer help and advice. Information is then passed to the relevant enforcement body to take further action where appropriate.
Notes to editors

1. The helpline proposal was an outcome from 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.


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