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Earlier this month, the Prince of Wales delivered the Queen’s Speech in front of parliament outlining the government’s priorities for the coming year. 

There were 38 new bills in the Queen’s speech that government ministers intend to bring into law this year, covering issues spanning a wide number of sectors such as infrastructure, digital, security, Brexit, education, the environment, finance and housing.

The lack of discussion for reform to employee rights has brought about criticism from unions and industry groups, accusing the government of ‘turning its back’ on workers. Unfortunately, as far as employment law updates 2022 has to offer, from this speech, they are so far non-existent.

What would be included in the Employment Bill?

An Employment Bill was first announced in the Queen’s Speech in 2019, but no firm decisions have yet been made about bringing in the legislation. 

The employment bill 2019 came after concerns surrounding Brexit, in that workers’ rights could be affected once the UK had left the European Union. 

Issues addressed in the Employment Bill concerned rights for flexible workers, protections against discrimination for pregnant employees, and rights for staff to keep tips. Since the bill was first discussed in 2019, workers have seen large changes to their working patterns with a widespread introduction of flexible hours and work-from-home roles. Changes are therefore expected to introduce further representation and protection for these employees.

What were the reactions to the Queen’s Speech?

The head of the TUC Frances O’Grady, commenting on the further delay for an Employment Bill to come into legislation, claimed that vital rights that had been promised by government ministers risked being ditched for good. 

She stated that government ministers were sending ‘a signal that they are happy for rogue employers to ride roughshod over workers’ rights’. 

The omission of the bill, for a second year running, comes after the recent sacking of 800 workers by P&O Ferries, bringing into question the legality of ‘hire and retire’ practices by UK businesses. 

Head of Policy at the CIPD, said that omission was a ‘missed opportunity’, and that delaying the bill leaves the current government little time to improve and protect workers rights before the next general election in 2024.

To learn about your current rights as an employee, please have a read of our section on Employee Law Solicitors and if you have a specific query, feel free to contact us on 02920 404020 or email info@howellslegal.com

 

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