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Government gets tough on rogue employers

The Government has launched a crackdown on employers who abuse workers.

Vulnerable workers will be able to call a telephone helpline to report rogue employers to the Government's workplace enforcement agencies.
The number of Employment Agencies Standards inspectors is to be doubled and stronger penalties will be introduced for employers who do not respect employees' rights. HM Revenue and Customs will be allowed to share information found by its minimum wage reinforcement wing.
The Government also plans to spend £6 million on an information campaign to raise awareness among employees about their legal employment rights.
The move is a response to the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum, established last year to identify abuses of employment law. It has set in place a Fair Employment Enforcement Board, chaired by employment relations minister Pat McFadden, to ensure minimum wage and health and safety is properly enforced.
McFadden said: "There are still dark corners of the labour market where rogue employers seek to mistreat their workers and more needs to be done to safeguard people's rights. There should be no hiding place for employers who exploit vulnerable workers and are not prepared to obey the law."
Commenting on the move, Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "This package represents progress in our campaign for better protection of vulnerable workers."
However, he added: "An opportunity has been missed to address the legal and regulatory flaws that still keep two million workers in poor conditions that shame a modern economy. Government has not been prepared to examine the legal loophole that deprives many workers from gaining the legal status of an employee, which stops their entitlement to many rights and allows an employer to sack them with no comeback if they attempt to enforce the limited rights they enjoy."