In the Queen's speech, on Wednesday 9 May 2012, the Queen outlined a number of proposed changes to employment law which will affect all businesses. These proposals are summarised below:
• Economic growth was a key focus for reform. As part of this, the Queen announced that new legislation would be introduced to repeal current unnecessary legislation.
• The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is the key piece of legislation to introduce changes to the current employment laws. These include:
1. measures aimed at facilitating earlier resolutions to workplace disputes, to be achieved by encouraging "early conciliation" through increased assistance from Acas. All claimants will be required to lodge their claim with ACAS, which will provide the
opportunity to engage in conciliation at an earlier stage, with the aim of reducing costs to employers that would otherwise be incurred in defending a case at an employment tribunal.
2. proposal to rename compromise agreements as "Settlements" in order to encourage parties to seriously consider coming to an agreement before entering into lengthy litigious disputes. It is thought these changes will provide assurance to employers that
they should not be afraid of sacking employees where they have a legitimate reason to do so. In turn, the Government hope that this will increase employers' confidence in hiring new staff, thus stimulating business and economic growth.
3. giving shareholders and remuneration committees more control to set executive pay which should hopefully encourage pay to be more in line with performance.
• The proposals within the Children and Families Bill will also affect businesses. One of the changes proposed is increasing the flexibility of parental leave, providing the ability for parents to share leave following the birth of a child. This would allow
mothers to return to work earlier and for the father to take the remaining maternity leave off in their place. The aim is to encourage the sharing of parental responsibility and balance work and family commitments.
It is not clear when this legislation will be fully enforced but we will ensure that you are kept up to date with the development of these and any other key changes.
To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Alison Loveday, Partner and Head of our Employment team, by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can call Alison on 0161 833 9211.
The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No responsibility for article's accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees.
Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.