Queen's Speech 2007 – Employment-related proposals
There were a number of employment-related proposals in the Queen's Speech which was delivered on 6 November.
The most important proposal in the Employment Bill is the reform of the statutory dispute procedures. A consultation process has been undertaken and a response to this process is expected shortly. The current procedures will be scrapped and it is anticipated that they will be replaced with a new and non-compulsory system. More details will become available following the Government's response to the consultation on the Gibbons review, which is expected later this month.
The Employment Bill will also clarify and simplify key aspects of employment law, including the enforcement framework for the national minimum wage.
The Government intends to extend flexible working rights to parents with children older than six. An independent review is to be undertaken by Sainsbury's HR Director Imelda Walsh into the extension of this right.
National Insurance Contributions Bill
The National Insurance Contributions Bill will raise the upper earnings level for national insurance contributions, aligning it with the higher rate income tax threshold.
The Pensions Bill will "place a duty on every employer to contribute to good quality workplace pensions for their employees".
The current review of the apprenticeship programme by the Government is due to be completed at the start of next year. It is envisaged that the draft legislation will cover the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved and will include duties on public bodies to promote and offer apprenticeships, a right to public funding for programmes and a statutory definition of apprenticeships.