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Posted in:HR and Employment|June 5, 2014 | Join the mailing list

What the Queen’s speech means for employment law

In yesterday’s Queen’s speech, the Government announced its planned programme for the next session of Parliament (the last before the General Election in 2015).  This included a number of changes that will affect employment
law, including:

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

This will include measures intended to tackle abuses of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 and abuse of zero-hours contracts; reduce tribunal delays; prevent highly paid public sector employees keeping redundancy
payments if they return ‘within a short period of time’ to the same part of the public sector; increase the flexibility of some childcare regulations; place into law the requirement that ‘red tape’ which affects small businesses is frequently reviewed to ensure
regulations are either cut or remain effective.


Childcare Payments Bill

The existing system of financial support for working families (a voluntary scheme which employers can choose to operate) will be replaced by a new scheme providing support equivalent to basic rate tax relief on money spent
on childcare, up to £2,000 per year, per child.  The scheme is intended to launch in autumn 2015 and within the first year should be rolled out to all eligible families with children under 12.


Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill

It is intended that this Bill will provide that where a person acts heroically, responsibly or for the benefit of others, this will be taken into account by the courts.  The Ministry of Justice has added some detail in a
press release which suggests that there will be measures to ‘put the law more clearly on the side of employers who do the right thing to protect employees if something does go wrong through no fault of their own’ and ‘provide greater protection to small business
owners who face challenges from irresponsible employees even if they have taken a responsible approach to safety training and procedures’.


Apprenticeship reforms

It is the Government’s aim to have 2 million apprenticeship starts over the course of the next session of Parliament and to improve the quality and value to employers of apprenticeships.  It intends to simplify the currently
complex apprenticeship frameworks and there will be higher expectations of English and maths for apprentices.  There will also be more assessments and a system of grading will be introduced.


EU reform

The Government has said that it will work to promote reform in the European Union.  It wants a stronger role for member states and national parliaments and to ‘scrap the unnecessary EU red tape which burdens the small and
medium-sized firms that employ two out of every three people in the EU’s (and UK’s) workforce’. 

Have a look at the Government’s background briefing notes

for more details and watch this space for news as the reforms take shape.


For more information about any of the above or for practical commercial advice on this or any other aspect of employment law, please contact
Kim Freeman-Smith
of the
Berg Employment Team on 0161 833 9211 or email her at

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(The information and opinions contained in this news alert are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its 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 this news alert.)

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