The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS): call for evidence on future of UK labour market

4 mins

Posted on 09 Jun 2022

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS): call for evidence on future of UK labour market

Is current employment law fit for purpose?

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched a call for evidence into the UK labour market. This follows on from the Government’s announcement that it has asked Matt Warman MP to lead a review into the future of work and how the government can best shape the UK labour market so it is fit for the future. 

The BEIS inquiry is considering whether the UK has enough workers with the right skills in the right places to do the jobs required for the economy, taking into account:

  • An ageing population
  • Migration changes
  • The impact of technology

The Committee also wishes to understand whether current employment law is fit for purpose or requires reform.

Questions fall into five areas:

The state of play in the UK labour market post-Brexit and COVID-19 

Questions include: 

  • Whether we have enough workers with the right skills in the right places
  • What impact Brexit has had on the flow of workers into and out of the UK and whether particular skill sets or sectors are most impacted
  • Which sectors are experiencing the most acute worker shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic
  • What more the Government can do to ensure that employers can recruit people with the right skills for the job, including the effective use of apprentices

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology in the workplace

 Questions include:

  • How AI is currently being used in the workplace and whether it is more prevalent in some sectors than others
  • Whether AI improves productivity in the workplace
  • How companies are monitoring workers and setting performance targets through algorithms and how are they using algorithms in recruitment
  • How well existing regulation protects workers from the risks posed by AI
  • Whether there are specific technologies that it needs to consider, beyond AI generally, that warrant updates to employment law

Workers' rights and protections

Questions include: 

  • How the Government can improve employment rights following Brexit and the covid-19 pandemic
  • How to strike the right balance between the flexibility the UK economy needs and protections for workers
  • What the Government can do to improve protection for people in low-paid work and the gig economy
  • What opportunities should be taken to capitalise on the UK’s departure from the EU to differentiate between the EU and UK standards in workers’ rights and protections
  • What the new code of practice on fire and rehire should include so as to be an effective deterrent against such practices
  • Whether updates to employment law are required to match the increased amount of work being undertaken from home

Employment status and modern working practices five years on from the Taylor Review

Questions include:

  • How working patterns are changing and the extent to which the gig economy is growing and permanent full-time employment contracts in decline
  • What the Government should be doing to address the issues raised in the Taylor report
  • Whether current legal definitions of employment status are still fit for purpose, in light of recent court rulings
  • How the pandemic has affected employee demands and employer offers of flexible working and whether this should affect Government plans and commitments around flexible working

The impact of an ageing population on the labour market

Questions include:

  • The impact the ageing population is already having on employment rates and labour productivity
  • How the UK’s ageing population is exacerbating the labour shortage in some sectors, such as hospitality, hair and beauty and social care
  • How the Government can help maintain the employability of older workers who wish to remain in work
  • What barriers older people face in the workplace, including pension aged workers, and how these should be addressed

Responses to the call for evidence are invited by 8th July 2022. BEIS says it welcomes submissions which address the challenges and identify potential solutions.  As it won’t be able to consider every aspect of the economy in depth, it particularly welcomes data rich case studies which might exemplify national trends.

Declan Bradley

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Helen Brooks

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