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Employment Alert – The Queen’s Speech: Key announcements for employers


The Queen’s Speech: Key announcements for employers

What’s happening?

On 10 May 2022, Prince Charles (on behalf of the Queen) set out the Government’s priorities and proposed policies for the next parliamentary session.

Following the Queen’s Speech in 2019, the Government confirmed that an Employment Bill would be introduced to further protect worker rights. However, this was not mentioned in the 2022 speech.

There were however a number of other announcements of interest to employment law, including:

  • The Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill to provide UK ports with the power to refuse access to ferry services that do not pay equivalent to the national minimum wage to seafarers while in UK waters.
  • The Modern Slavery Bill to strengthen the reporting requirements for large businesses (with a turnover of £36m or more) on preventing modern slavery.
  • The Data Reform Bill to create a new regime for UK data protection.
  • The Bill of Rights to create a UK human rights framework.
  • Health and Social Care noting the women’s health strategy and establishment of the UK Menopause Taskforce to improve menopause care.
  • The Brexit Freedoms Bill to clarify the status of retained EU law and create new powers to amend, repeal or replace retained law.

Why is this important?

Many of the above will provide added protection to workers and they show the Government’s response to recent events such as the P&O redundancies, Brexit and the push for menopause care.

However, the absence of the Employment Bill from the Queen’s Speech is most notable. The Bill was expected to bring clarity and reform to UK employment rights, particularly in relation to flexible working, unpaid carers leave, neonatal leave and enhanced redundancy protection for pregnant employees. In the absence of the Employment Bill, the Government has been accused of breaking its promise and leaving employers in limbo as to whether they need to make changes to their policies and procedures.

What should you do?

Given the apparent pause on the Employment Bill, the majority of employers should not need to take any immediate action unless they expect to be directly affected by the proposed Bills. The status of the Employment Bill is currently unclear but keep an eye out for our future updates on this topic.

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