The Queen’s Speech in December 2019 announced a new Employment Bill, aimed at supporting workers and families by introducing measures which would encourage flexible working as well as support leave for those with caring responsibilities.
However, with a global pandemic which then followed it meant that little progress was made in passing this Bill into employment legislation. Whilst it has had its first reading in the House of Commons, it has not yet reached the second stage and following the Queen’s Speech (10 May 2022) there was no further mention of the Employment Bill.
This leaves employers uncertain as to what is happening over the coming months on those areas of employment which were to be addressed by the Employment Bill, and a general hold on policy development.
However, even though there was no mention of the Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech, it’s not to say employers cannot proceed in policy development and look to implement some of the measures the Employment Bill was set to introduce.
In fact, it may be beneficial, especially at a time when many employers are facing incredible challenges in recruiting as well as retaining their staff. Introducing measures that support work and family life may help the business to stand out from their competitors and help to improve poor employee retention as well as improve their ability to attract and recruit talent.
Policy development need not be driven by legislation, it can be driven by an organisation’s own business context. For some, focusing on those areas that were to be addressed by the Employment Bill may make good business sense now, rather than waiting for the Bill to be translated into legislation. As a reminder, this is what the Employment Bill aims to achieve:
- A new right for workers to request a more predictable contract after 26 weeks of service.
- Giving employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment unless employers have good reason not to allow.
- A new entitlement to neonatal leave, providing employees up to 12 weeks paid time off to support when a baby is born prematurely or admitted to hospital in their first four weeks of life.
- One week’s unpaid leave for carers.
- Extending the current rights in place for pregnant employees where employment protection is extended from the point the employee informs the employer of their pregnancy to six months after their period of leave.
- The Bill will also enable workers to receive tips earned in full, meaning an employer will be required to pass on all tips in full and without deduction.
- Introduce a new single enforcement body to enforce breaches relating to the National Minimum Wage, modern slavery, employment agencies, Statutory Sick Pay and holiday pay for vulnerable workers.
If you would like support in policy development that can help your business to retain and attract the best candidates, please contact us or get in touch with us on 0844 324, 5840 and speak to a member of the team.