Revisiting the Queen’s speech: Employment Bill

20 December 2019

A brief overview of the Queen’s Speech delivered on 19 December 2019 has been published on the CIPP’s News Online page but the Policy team wanted to revisit some of the areas that will have the largest impact on payroll professionals and look at them in more detail.

The Employment Bill, discussed in the Queen’s Speech background briefing notes provides some interesting insights into some of the changes that will come into effect for both employees and employers.

There is an emphasis placed on the establishment of a new single enforcement body. The government published a consultation surrounding this topic, which ran from July to October 2019 and sought feedback on whether establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights could improve enforcement for vulnerable workers and create a level playing field for the majority of businesses who are complying with the law. We are still awaiting a published response in relation to the consultation but the reference to the new singular enforcement body within the Employment Bill is a good indicator that this is something that the government is planning on implementing in the future.

The (Allocation of Tips) Bill will also come into effect to ensure that the tips left for workers are paid out to them in full and will combat the practice where employers retain a percentage of the tips that employees have earned.

The Bill also discusses allowing parents to take extended leave for neonatal care, a policy that was discussed in the Good Work Plan: Proposals to support families consultation. Again, a response is still pending but the fact that it is present within the Employment Bill is positive news. The Bill also looks at making flexible working the default arrangement for employees and prioritising families in the workplace, which were key issues also addressed in the Good Work Plan consultation. It is very important in contemporary society that employees can balance having a family with going to work and the Employment Bill seems to wholeheartedly embrace that.

There are also elements to the Bill that look at allowing workers to request more predictable contracts and to extending redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Both pledges serve to protect some of the more vulnerable members of society, so zero-hour and agency workers and pregnant women.

It is encouraging that many of the items discussed within the Employment Bill relate to topics that are being revisited and shows that the government are intending to follow up on issues that they have previously gathered feedback on. There seems to be an intense focus on ensuring that employee rights are protected, which is something that the CIPP really applauds.

 


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