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Keeping you up-to-date with the latest legislative changes in the world of Human Resources.

Where is the Employment Bill?

Employment lawyers were left surprised by the lack of mention of the Employment Bill in the Queen's Speech.

Andrew Collier
Andrew Collier HR Adviser
In the 2019 Queen's Speech, the prospect of the Employment Bill coming into force in 2020 was raised.  The proposed Bill was said to cover matters such as introducing a single enforcement body for employment rights, new laws on zero-hour contracts, new redundancy rights for pregnant employees and new flexible working provisions (even pre-Covid!) - and a whole lot more.   In short, it was to be the most significant update to UK employment law for some time and would be the start of legislative reform in a post-Brexit era.

Unsurprisingly, as 2020 came and went other priorities of Government meant that the Employment Bill was delayed.  All, however, expected it to resurface in 2021.   On 11 May 2021, the Queen's Speech set out the government's legislative programme for the next year and the absence of any mention of the Employment Bill caused huge surprise. The absence of the Employment Bill from the government's legislative programme was met with dismay by trade unions and other groups.

This week in Parliament, however, we gained some clarity - sort of!   Paul Scully MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), confirmed that alongside the Secretary of State, he does intend to bring in the long-awaited Employment Bill to the legislative table "when parliamentary time allows".

Given all that Government is dealing with right now, when will that be? Who knows.
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