News Daily: Workplace rights, second Brexit vote warning and SPOTY

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Flexible or precarious?

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Millions of people in the UK are employed on zero-hour contracts, or by agencies or in the so-called "gig economy". For some, the flexibility is attractive, for others, it's damaging. On Monday, the government is introducing what it says is the biggest overhaul of workplace laws in 20 years to give that growing cohort more protection.

Ministers say the new legislation will give workers a "statement of rights" on their first day in a job, including eligibility for holiday pay and sick leave and give them the right to request more predictable hours. They also say it'll close a loophole that had allowed agency staff to be paid less than permanent employees, and increase fines for rogue employers.

Labour and the unions, though, insist the reforms do not go far enough and, in particular, won't help zero-hour workers. Under a zero-hour contract, employers can hire staff with no guarantee of work, then use them only when needed, often at short notice. The government says it believes that in many cases, these new forms of employment offer "genuine two-way flexibility" for firms and workers.

The BBC spoke to gig economy workers about their experiences, and Reality Check asked whether you can really be "employed" for one hour's work.

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Brexit latest

With the deal at a seeming impasse, the clamour is growing in some quarters for a second referendum. Theresa May, though, will tell MPs later that holding one would "do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics". Lead Brexiteer Boris Johnson agrees with her for once - he writes in his latest newspaper column on Monday that a second vote would "provoke instant, deep and ineradicable feelings of betrayal".

The prime minister will give the warning as she updates MPs on last week's EU summit where she made an appeal to fellow leaders to help her get the deal "over the line". The EU said no to further renegotiation, but said there could be clarification. Much coverage of the event, however, focused on a tense exchange Mrs May had with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

How could a new referendum work? BBC Reality Check can explain.


Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 on Sunday night. Young racing driving Billy Monger, who had both his legs amputated in 2017, won the Helen Rollason Award. And it was a great night for netball, with England's women named Team of the Year and their gold at the Commonwealth Games voted Greatest Sporting Moment. Read more on how the night unfolded and what makes an ideal SPOTY candidate.

Six potential legal problems for Trump

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America correspondent

Investigations into Donald Trump's election-eve hush money payments and any possible ties between his presidential campaign and Russia have been dominating headlines. But there are other legal woes too. In New York and Washington, the list of inquiries into the Trump world are expanding - any of which could produce serious headaches for the president. Here's a look at the latest collection of eyeballs scrutinising the president - and what it all could mean.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Theresa May's warning about another Brexit referendum features on a number of front pages, including the Daily Express, which demands, "Don't Dare Steal Our Brexit." The Metro suggests there is a "battle in the Number 10 bunker" over a second vote. The Times says Mrs May's cabinet allies have publicly urged her to put Brexit in the hands of Parliament and allow MPs a series of votes on options to break the deadlock. Elsewhere, Stacey Dooley also features widely after she won Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. "At a time when young female faces from working class backgrounds are at a premium in television," says the Guardian, "the broadcasting world is at the feet of a woman who was originally plucked from her job at Luton airport's duty-free makeup section." Finally, the Sun carries a warning of "Christmas chaos - with 229 miles of roadworks and 330 railway projects blighting journeys home".

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09:30 The Office for National Statistics publishes a review of student loans which could prompt a rethink over the affordability of the system

11:00 Champions League round of 16 draw - four English sides feature

On this day

2003 Former caretaker Ian Huntley is found guilty murdering Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman

From elsewhere

'Don't just sign the paper - read the terms': Teenagers learn financial lessons (Observer)

How the US squandered its leadership at the UN climate conference (New Yorker)

See the ingenious toys made by refugee children (National Geographic)

The ideal bauble ratio and the sparkly science of decorating the perfect Christmas tree (Wired )

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