Welcome to Employment Edit, our pick of the key employment law developments from the last couple of weeks:

  • Immigration Bill – the Bill has now become the Immigration Act 2016 and will come into force in stages on dates yet to be announced. The Act extends the existing criminal offence of knowingly employing an illegal migrant to apply where an employer has ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that a person is an illegal worker and also makes working illegally an offence in its own right. It will also introduce a new Immigration Skills Charge from April 2017 requiring employers to pay for sponsoring skilled migrant workers.  
  • Enterprise Bill – the Bill has now become the Enterprise Act 2016. The Act will be brought into force in stages and the key employment provisions include the strengthening of retail workers' rights in relation to Sunday working and the introduction of a cap of £95,000 on the total aggregate value of exit payments made to most public sector workers.
  • Freedom of expression – The EHRC has published a legal guide to freedom of expression which explains how freedom of expression applies in relation to employment situations and service provision.
  • Human rights – Human rights are back in the spotlight as it was announced in the Queen’s Speech that the British Bill of Rights would be brought forward to the new Parliamentary session. The government will consult on the draft Bill which, it says, will “restore common sense to the way human rights law is applied” and include measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework as well as “protections against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws”. In the meantime, the EHRC has published Business and human rights; a five-step guide for company boards to help board directors ensure their businesses fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights.