This year’s Queen’s Speech may have been dominated by Brexit. However, it also contained some planned reforms to employment laws.
The main points of interest for employers are as follows:
National Living Wage
The national living wage (NLW) will increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020. After 2020, it will continue to rise in line with average earnings.
The Immigration Bill, which covers the whole of the UK, will establish a new national policy on immigration, including new powers concerning the immigration status of European Economic Area nationals. The Bill will give the government the power to repeal EU law on immigration, primarily free movement. The migration of EU nationals and their family members will be made subject to relevant UK law after Brexit.
A new Data Protection Bill will make the UK’s data protection framework fit for the digital age. It will also 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, enabling the UK to maintain the ability to share data with EU member states after Brexit.
Modern Employment Working Practices
The ‘Taylor Review’ of modern working practices is expected to be published shortly. The Review will consider how the employment market may need to change in order to keep pace with new business models. The review was set up following the increase in the number of self-employed individuals and those carrying out casual work or working in the ‘gig economy’. The government has stated that the Taylor Review is an important step towards ensuring fairness for all.
Gender Pay Gap and Discrimination
The government has stated that it intends to make further progress in tackling the gender pay gap and reducing discrimination on all grounds.