Employment Bill – missing enAction?


24 May 2022

The Queen’s Speech of 10 May 2022 was notable for its lack of an Employment Bill.

The Employment Bill, which was first announced in 2019, was expected to include a wide range of measures including guaranteed tips for workers, additional rights for zero-hours workers and pregnant women, neonatal and carers’ leave and an extended right to request flexible working. Many of these changes have already been the subject of government consultations.

It is not currently clear whether, or when, any of the proposed reforms will take effect. It has been suggested that some of the proposals could be brought into force through secondary legislation, without the need for a new Act of Parliament. Prior to the Queens’ Speech, however, the Financial Times reported that plans to legislate for hospitality workers to keep tips have been shelved for “the foreseeable future”.

The dropping of the proposed Bill has been widely criticised by opposition parties and trade unions, and perhaps in anticipation of this criticism the government issued a press release to highlight the measures that have already been taken to protect and enhance workers’ rights. The government has also announced an extension of the existing ban on exclusivity clauses in employment contracts to those whose earnings are below the Lower Earnings Limit (currently £123 per week or less). This follows a consultation that was issued in December 2020. Legislation is expected to be laid before Parliament later this year.

On 12 May 2022, the government announced a new labour market review to be led by Matt Warman MP, looking at how the government could best shape the labour market so it is fit for the future. The review will build on existing government commitments, including those made in response to the 2017 Matthew Taylor Review, to assess what are the key questions to address on the future of work. The review will make recommendations to guide long-term, strategic policy making on the labour market. It will be conducted over spring and summer 2022, with its written report, including recommendations, to be submitted to the Prime Minister at a later date.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at May 2022.

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Liz Stevens

Professional Support Lawyer

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