What does the UK’s new government mean for employment law?

While it is early days for Theresa May as Prime Minister, some proposals suggested and comments made in speeches and by new appointees to ministerial positions give a cautious clue as to the future.

Before her appointment, Theresa May proposed measures to be taken to improve the governance of big companies, specifically that shareholders should be given greater control over executive pay, and that there should be worker representation on boards.

In her first speech as Prime Minister, she promised that “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job, but you don’t always have job security … We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.” She went on to note that ““If you’re a woman you will earn less than a man.” We are still awaiting the final form of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016, requiring larger employers to publish certain information about pay: will these now be forthcoming?

Meanwhile, David Davis (the new Secretary of State for Brexit) has written that “All the empirical studies show that it is not employment regulation that stultifies economic growth, but all the other market-related regulations, many of them wholly unnecessary. Britain has a relatively flexible workforce, and so long as the employment law environment stays reasonably stable it should not be a problem for business.” This indicates that there are no immediate changes planned to UK employment law.

EHRC chair offers practical advice to employers on easing racial tensions at work

In the light of the uncertainty surrounding the future of EU nationals working in the UK the Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to employers offering practical advice. Read the letter from our Chair David Isaac to employers (PDF) as to how they can ease racial tensions in the workplace. This includes asking employers to show leadership in challenging intolerance, ensuring that their employees feel supported and being clear that racism and racial harassment will not be tolerated. The letter reminds employers that they have duties to ensure their employees can work in safe and healthy conditions, without discrimination or harassment. It has produced a fact sheet on “What to do if you’re worried about racism” that outlines employees’ rights at work, how to handle sensitive political issues and where to go to get help and advice.