Mon 17 May 2021

Employment Bill omitted from Queen's Speech

The UK Government has cited the pandemic as the reason for delay saying it will be introduced "when the time is right"

The Queen's Speech which took place on 11 May and marks the state opening of Parliament, has raised eyebrows in employment law and HR circles because of what has not been said rather than what is included.  In the December 2019 Queen's Speech that followed the General Election, an Employment Bill was introduced which included provision for creating a new single labour market enforcement body, making flexible working the default position and providing better leave for carers, amongst other things. To date the Employment Bill has not been published.

It had been hoped that the Employment Bill would be included in the Queen's Speech last week, meaning it would feature in the UK Government's plans for the next 12 month period.  Its omission indicates that this is not the case.  Recent calls to include a "right to disconnect" and policy to tackle "fire and rehire" tactics have also not been acted upon. 

Measures are to be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities following the Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report that was published on 31 March 2021.  Whether that will include the introduction of ethnicity pay gap reporting remains to be seen, as no detail is included on what the "measures" might be.

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