Five million workers across Britain’s supply chains risk being cheated out of their entitlement to holiday pay and the minimum wage, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said.
Workers at outsourcing companies, franchises and recruitment agencies are vulnerable because they cannot challenge their parent employer if they do not receive their legal entitlements.
The general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said millions of UK workers – from fast-food outlets to building sites – cannot challenge their parent companies over workplace abuses.
“Employers have a duty of care to workers in their supply chains. They shouldn’t be allowed to wash their hands of their responsibilities,” said O’Grady. “Joint liability must be extended to parent employers. Without it they can shrug their shoulders over minimum wage and holiday pay abuses.”
3.3 million UK workers are employed through outsourced companies, 615,000 are employed by franchise businesses and at least 1 million are employed by recruitment agencies, umbrella companies and personal service companies. From this month, workers aged 25 and over are entitled to at least £7.83 per hour, up from £7.50. But some employers have been failing to meet this obligation.
More than half a million employees are being paid below national minimum wage rates and at least 2 million workers do not receive legal minimum paid holiday entitlements, worth £1.6bn in paid holiday per year.