The Queen’s Speech – what it means for employers

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Posted in:HR and Employment|May 13, 2013 | Join the mailing list

The Queen’s speech, delivered on 8 May 2013 to mark the opening of Parliament, contained a number of proposed changes aimed at helping employers and reducing excessive red tape for businesses.

A National Insurance Bill is due to take effect in April 2014 and is aimed at helping small businesses with the cost of employing staff. It will introduce a new employment allowance, giving all businesses (including charities) a reduction
of £2,000 per year from their employer national insurance contributions. Most of the benefit of this allowance goes to small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The Government has estimated that this essentially means that around 450,000
small businesses will not pay any employer National Insurance contributions.

A Deregulation Bill includes proposals to exempt the self-employed from health and safety legislation, and to make changes to encourage the use of apprenticeships. It also includes proposals to abolish the power of Employment Tribunals to
make wider recommendations in successful discrimination cases, so that the only recommendations a Tribunal will be able to make to an employer will be ones which apply to the particular person who has brought the discrimination claim. The Government has said
that its reason for wanting to repeal this provision is that it adds little to the existing powers of Tribunals and that wider recommendations might not be of any direct benefit to the individual who has brought the claim. Examples of Tribunals making use
of this current wider power include:

• ordering external equal opportunities training of an employer’s managers where an employee has been successful in a discrimination claim;

• ordering an employer to implement specific policies such as anti-harassment and bullying policies.

The proposed new Pensions Bill will see the introduction of a single-tier pension of £144 a week to replace the basic state pension from April 2016 and will also see the state pension age raised to 67 by 2026.

It was also confirmed in the Queen’s speech that we can expect to see a new Immigration Bill over the coming year that will "further reform Britain’s immigration system". This includes the proposal of "tough action" against employers of irregular
migrants, including higher fines.

There are also still many changes in the pipeline (such as Employment Tribunal fees, new Tribunal rules and changes to TUPE) which do not require primary legislation and so were not featured in the Queen’s Speech. For more information on
those changes, please see our article:
http://www.berg.co.uk/latest-news-from-berg-important–new-timetable-for-employment-law-reforms.aspx

For more information on any of the above, please contact Nigel Crebbin on 0161 833 9211 or by email to
nigelc@berg.co.uk.

The information and opinions contained in this article 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 article.

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