Queen’s Speech And The Employment Bill

The employment bill was excluded from the 2022 Queen’s Speech.

The employment bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in 2019 and was dubbed as a landmark piece of legislation. Changes that were promised, when parliamentary time allows, included:

  • amending the right to request a flexible working pattern to apply from day one of employment;
  • extending redundancy protections for pregnant women and new parents;
  • introducing:
    • one week’s unpaid carers’ leave;
    • up to 12 weeks paid leave for parents of babies needing neonatal care;
    • the right for employees to keep tips and gratuities in full;
    • a new right for workers without a fixed working pattern a right to request a more predictable work pattern after 26 weeks’ service;
    • a new right to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for short-notice shift cancellation; and
  • creating a new single enforcement body to ensure workers’ rights are protected.

Since the Employment Bill was first proposed there have been various consultations and government announcements. However, the bill failed to make it into the Queen’s Speech that was delivered by Prince Charles on 10 May 2022. It therefore seems unlikely that that the proposed changes will be implemented this year, leaving employers in limbo and workers disappointed.

On 12 May 2022 the government published a policy paper on a new ‘Future of Work Review’ which will guide long-term policy. The review will build on existing government commitments, including those on employment status and protection for atypical workers, as well as assess and make recommendations on selected issues. Therefore, we may yet see some of the proposals from the employment bill become law.

The government has faced a backlash since the Queen’s Speech, signalling that many workers and unions may be unhappy with the pace of change. Employers may choose, therefore, to engage with some of the practices now, which could lead to benefits in terms of recruitment, retention, and reputation.

Since Brexit, businesses have been hoping for a bonfire of EU red tape which has not materialised.

Employment Bill

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