Following the General Election that left the UK government without a parliamentary majority, the Queen’s Speech was dominated by a Brexit legislative agenda.
We look at what current clarity there is about what changes employers can expect over the next two years which may affect their workforce.
Q What will happen with the EU law?
EU laws covering the accrual of holiday whilst off sick, on working time and about TUPE appear likely to remain until at least March 2019 when the UK is set to exit the EU. Theresa May has also pledged to maintain workers’ existing legal rights so long as she is Prime Minister but her pledge does not commit any successor.
Q Will there still be changes to The National Living Wage (NLW)?
The Queen’s Speech confirmed the proposed increase of the NLW to 60 per cent of median UK earnings by 2020. Organisations should now be planning for annual increases in real terms.
Q What about zero hours contracts and employment status?
The Taylor Review is expected to be published in the next couple of weeks. Recent press releases indicate the Review will recommend restrictions on the use of zero-hours contracts although an outright ban is unlikely as there are recognised benefits for organisations and workers.
It is hoped the report will tackle the issue of employment status. The well-publicised cases of Uber, Citysprint and Hermes have caused concern that some organisations are incorrectly classifying some of its workforce and so their employment rights are unfitting.
The government maintains it looks forward to the publication of the Taylor Review so watch this space.
Q Will there be a greater burden on employers to publish more data on pay?
The Conservative manifesto signalled additional requirements to publish data concerning gender pay and indicated that ethnicity pay reporting could also be introduced. Rules regarding gender pay gap reporting are already in force. The Queen’s Speech made no legislative announcement here but expressed the government’s wish to tackle the gender pay gap and all forms of discrimination.
So, this is still on the agenda but the timing is uncertain.
Q What about enhanced rights to time off work?
The Conservative manifesto pledged to introduce new rights to time off work to care for sick children, arising from child bereavement and to undergo training. However, there was no mention of these pledges made in the Queen’s Speech, they appear unlikely to be introduced in the next two years.
For more information regarding any aspect of employment law please contact Carolyn Brown.