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24 February 2020
222: Employment Bill announced in Queen’s Speech
The Employment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019 is intended to ‘protect and enhance workers’ rights’ as the UK leaves the EU, although much of what is included in the Bill had already been proposed in the Good Work Plan and previous government announcements.
Details of the Employment Bill have not yet been published, and there is as yet no timetable for its introduction.
Key proposals in the Bill include:
- setting up a single labour market enforcement agency to ensure that vulnerable workers are aware of their rights and how to exercise them. A consultation on this proposal closed on 6 October 2019;
- making flexible working the default position, unless employers can justify not offering it;
- legislation to require employers to pass on all tips and service charges to workers and ensure that tips are distributed on a fair and transparent basis. This will be supported by a statutory code of practice;
- legislation to introduce a new right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service. This was part of the Good Work Plan;
- extending redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The government has previously announced its intention to extend the period of redundancy protection from when an employee notifies the employer of their pregnancy (whether verbally or in writing), until six months after the end of their maternity leave;
- introducing a right to neonatal pay and leave to support parents of premature or sick babies. The government’s consultation on this new right closed on 11 October 2019; and
- introducing one week’s leave for unpaid carers. This was a Conservative election manifesto pledge.