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The Queen's Speech 2015 - Implications for employment law

The Queen’s Speech took place on 27 May 2015. Aside from the EU Referendum Bill and the proposed replacement of the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, employment related measures include:

Trade Unions Bill
With the aim to protect public services from disruption and reform trade unions by:

  • Setting a minimum threshold of a 50% turnout on union ballots with a simple majority in favour together with time limits on mandates following a ballot for action.
  • In the health, education, fire and transport services, in addition to the 50% turnout requirement, 40% of those entitled to vote need to vote in favour of striking.
  • Preventing intimidation of non-strikers.
  • Introducing a transparent opt-in process for the political fund element on trade union subscriptions.

Immigration Bill
With the aim of reducing demand for skilled migrant workers and cracking down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers by:

  • Making illegal working a criminal offence, which will allow wages to be seized as crime proceeds.
  • Setting up a new enforcement agency to take action against employers who exploit migrant labour.
  • Making it illegal for agencies to only recruit from abroad without advertising in Britain.

Enterprise Bill
Introducing measures to reduce regulation on small businesses to create more jobs and capping exit payments to public sector workers.

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill
The Government intends to create 3 million new apprenticeships over the next Parliament.  Ministers will be under a statutory duty to report annually on their progress towards achieving full employment and meeting the new apprentices target.

National Insurance Contributions Bill
Future increases to the personal income tax allowance will be linked to changes to the National Minimum Wage ensuring that those working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage will not pay income tax.  There will be no rises in income tax, VAT or National Insurance contributions for the next five years for individuals and employers.

Childcare Bill
To increase the provision of free childcare for eligible working parents of three and four year olds to 30 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.

Extremism Bill
As part of a package of measures to defeat extremism, employers will be able to check whether an individual is an extremist and bar them from working with children.