Employment Bill missing from Queen's speech

As anticipated, the Government has not made room for an Employment Bill in its plans for new parliamentary session, announced in the Queen’s speech yesterday (10 May). There is a growing backlog of proposals to strengthen workers’ rights, some of them many years old. It is now uncertain which, if any, of these will be implemented in the foreseeable future. 

There are however a number of Bills announced which may affect employment rights indirectly.

These include the following:

  • Bill of Rights: this is likely to change the UK’s relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights. The UK will remain a signatory, but the roles of our courts and tribunals in interpreting domestic legislation in conformity with the Convention is likely to be restricted. This could affect the way some employment legislation is interpreted.
  • Data Reform Bill: this will take some fairly limited steps towards liberalising the UK’s data protection regime, including making subject access requests less burdensome for businesses and other organisations.
  • Harbours (Seafarers' Remuneration) Bill: this is being brought forward to implement the promises the Government made in the aftermath of the P&O dismissals, by giving harbour authorities powers to refuse access to operators of regular ferry services that do not pay an equivalent to the National Minimum Wage to their seafarers while in UK waters.
  • Modern Slavery Bill:  this will aim to strengthen the protection for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery and increase the accountability of organisations in their efforts to eliminate modern slavery from their supply chains.

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