The recent Queen's Speech, outlining the Government’s proposed legislation for the coming parliamentary session, included very little mention of employment law reform. However, the Government's response to a Women & Equalities Select Committee report, published shortly after the Queen's Speech, sheds light on some of the reforms that the Government is focusing on:
- Employment Bill – this is expected to contain a raft of new provisions, including the creation of a single enforcement body, the right for workers to receive tips and gratuities in full, and the right to request a more predictable contract. The Select Committee requested that the Government publish it by the end of June 2021 (it was first announced formally over a year ago), but the Government has indicated that it will be published 'in due course'.
- Ethnicity (but not disability) pay gap reporting – the Government has said it will respond to the 2018/19 Ethnicity Pay Reporting consultation in due course. It is considering the difficulties in designing a methodology that will produce accurate figures that facilitate analysis, interpretation and meaningful action. However, it rejected calls to introduce disability pay gap reporting, pointing instead to the existing voluntary disability reporting framework that employers can adopt.
- Pregnancy and maternity discrimination – the Government reaffirmed that it will extend the redundancy protection period afforded to mothers on maternity leave. This will extend to pregnant women and for six months after a mother has returned to work. It will also apply to those taking adoption leave and shared parental leave. The Government will bring these measures forward as soon as Parliamentary time allows.
- Flexible working reform – the Government is considering amending the 26 weeks' service requirement for employees to request flexible working as part of a consultation on making flexible working the default position, which it will publish in due course.
None of these proposals are new, but it is helpful to see that they are still actively being considered. The Government's emphasis that they will introduce the pregnancy and maternity discrimination reforms as soon as Parliamentary time allows suggest that we may see those changes introduced sooner rather than later.
If you would like more information on upcoming employment law reform, please get in touch with your usual Mishcon de Reya contact or with a member of the Employment team.