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Employment Law in the Queen’s Speech

Measures designed to reduce delays in employment tribunals and address the issue of zero hours contracts for low paid workers have been unveiled in the Queen's Speech.

What is being planned?
The Government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was promoted by Her Majesty in the Queen’s Speech as key to making the United Kingdom “the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business.”

The Bill is expected to be published on 16 June 2014 and to include measures designed to cut bureaucracy and make access to finance easier for small businesses, to reduce “delays in employment tribunals” and improve “the fairness of contracts for low paid workers.”

The Bill will also seek to impose higher penalties on employers who fail to pay their staff the minimum wage and will bring forward measures designed to limit excessive redundancy payments across the public sector.

When will these measures come into force?
It is uncertain whether the Bill will be passed before the end of the current Parliament in March 2015.

Few details about how the Bill will work in practice were revealed, but it is clear that employment law reform remains on the political agenda.

Will a change of government mean the plans will be ditched?
Again, this is hard to say, but employment law reform is something which is exercising all the political parties.

For example, earlier this week there were rumours that Labour intends to abolish Employment Tribunal fees should it come in to power at the next general election.

If true, this would have a major effect on the employment landscape with many observers pointing to a 79% drop in tribunal claims over the last quarter as evidence that tribunal fees are putting off some potential claimants.

How can I find out more?
To keep up to date with all the latest developments in employment law or to review your policies and procedures, please get in touch.