On 21 June 2017, the Queen's Speech set out details of legislation that the government intends to carry over into, or introduce in, the 2017-19 Parliamentary session. Key statements of interest for employers are:

  • National living wage. The national living wage (NLW) will increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020. After 2020, the NLW will continue to rise in line with average earnings.

  • Immigration. The Immigration Bill, covering the whole of the UK, will establish a new national policy on immigration, including new powers concerning the immigration status of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. The Bill will allow the government to repeal EU law on immigration, primarily free movement, which otherwise would have been saved and converted into UK law by the Repeal Bill. The migration of EU nationals and their family members will be made subject to relevant UK law after Brexit. (Please also see our summary of the government's policy paper in this alert).

  • Data protection. A new Data Protection Bill will make the UK's data protection framework fit for the digital age and give individuals more control over their data, including the right to be forgotten. It will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and implement the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

  • Taylor Review. The government states that the Taylor Review (on modern working practices) is an important step towards ensuring fairness for all and it "looks forward" to publication of the report shortly.

  • Gender pay gap and discrimination. The government states that it intends to make further progress in tackling the gender pay gap and reducing discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, faith, disability, gender or race. No new measures were announced, but existing steps (such as the introduction of gender pay gap reporting and shared parental leave, the McGregor-Smith Review into race in the workplace and the Parker Review on ethnic diversity on boards) were referenced.

  • Mental Health. The government states that it will review the mental health legislative landscape and publish recommendations on where new policy could provide greater rights for those experiencing mental health problems so they can live lives free from discrimination.

What does this mean for employers?

The Queen's Speech referred to enhancing rights and protections in the modern workplace. However, there is no detail on how this will be done. For now, so far as new legislation is concerned, it is business as usual for employers, and we will of course keep you updated on any new employment related legislation.

Queen's Speech and Associated Background Briefing