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Modern Slavery: New Government Agency to enforce employment rights

The government is creating a new agency with responsibility for tackling modern slavery. It will focus in particular on enforcing the minimum wage and holiday pay and protecting agency workers.

There are currently three different bodies with responsibility for these areas; the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Enforcement. These agencies will be rolled into this one new body.

One of the leading areas the new agency will pay particular attention to is online fashion retailers. Boohoo came in for heavy criticism last year after concerns were raised that workers in its Leicester suppliers were being underpaid and not protected against COVID-19 during the pandemic. A second area where they will monitor is the agricultural sector where businesses who provide agricultural workers must have a licence and can be inspected to make sure they are meeting employment standards.

The government has for some time made it plain that they intend to preserve current protections and rights for all employees through legislation largely inherited from our time in the European Union and if any doubt were left, this new agency reinforces that agenda.

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