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Millions ‘at risk of being cheated out of holiday pay and national minimum wage’

Research for the TUC estimated that five million UK workers cannot enforce their basic rights with their ‘parent company’.

Millions of workers risk missing out on basic rights because they work for outsourced companies so cannot challenge minimum wage or holiday pay abuses, according to the TUC.

The union organisation called on the Government to give supply-chain workers the right to challenge their parent employer.

Research for the TUC estimated that five million UK workers cannot enforce their basic rights with their “parent company”.

Around 3.3 million are employed through outsourced companies, 615,000 by franchise businesses and at least one million by recruitment agencies, umbrella companies and personal service companies, it was found.

The TUC said that unless joint liability is extended to parent employers, many supply chain workers will remain at risk of being cheated out of holiday pay and the national minimum wage.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is an issue that affects millions, from fast food workers to people working on building sites.

“Employers have a duty of care to workers in their supply chains. They shouldn’t be allowed to wash their hands of their responsibilities.

“Joint liability must be extended to parent employers. Without it they can shrug their shoulders over minimum wage and holiday pay abuses.

“Our labour enforcement laws urgently need beefing up.”

A Business Department spokesman said: “The Government recently set out plans to ensure millions of workers, including agency workers, will benefit from enhanced rights and protections.

“Under the package of proposals, all 1.2 million agency workers will be able to request a more stable contract and receive a clear breakdown of their pay.

“We are also considering repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.”

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