Bare bones – Queen's Speech confirms some employment proposals Last week's pared down Queen's Speech confirms some of the government's manifesto and other commitments, including:
- Brexit – as previously covered, the Great Repeal Bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 on the day that the UK leaves the EU but convert EU law as it stands at the point of exit into domestic law. This is designed to ensure that the same rules and laws apply the day after exit as on the day before and, in the context of employment law, will help to give certainty to business and workers about their rights and obligations.
- Employment status – "we look forward to receiving the Taylor Review shortly"; no specific confirmation of the manifesto commitment to protections for gig economy workers.
- Data protection – a new Data Protection Bill to replace the current Act and implement the General Data Protection Regulation. This will mean changes to the data subject access regime and potential for higher penalties.
- Boardroom diversity – working with the Parker Review Committee to improve the ethnic diversity of boards by 2021.
- Discrimination – further protection for those with mental health conditions.
- National Insurance Contributions – changes announced in 2016 Budget/Autumn Statement to be introduced. This will presumably include the new rules on tax on termination payments. The background notes to the Queen's Speech say that the legislation "does not relate to discussion of Class 4 Contributions at the time of the Spring Budget 2017" but do not actually confirm that the proposal (to increase NICs for self-employed workers) has been dropped.
- National Living Wage to increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020.
There is no specific mention of some of the other significant manifesto pledges, such as on executive pay and worker representation; a proposed new right to take time off to care for relatives plus the extension of the right to request leave for training to all employees; a requirement for companies with 250+ employees to publish more data on gender pay gap; and a post-Brexit review of the Human Rights Act.