Employment Bill is expected to be further delayed
According to a report in the Financial Times, a government official has indicated that the long-awaited Employment Bill is not expected to be in the next Queen's Speech in May 2022.
In our previous article, we explained that the Employment Bill was one of the key Employment law developments that were expected to arrive in 2022. The Bill was announced in late 2019, and a first reading of the bill took place on 21 June 2021. However, more than two years after being announced in the 2019 Queen's speech, and a Covid-19 pandemic and a conflict in Europe later, there are doubts as to when this Bill will make it through Parliament and into UK legislation.
In the 2019 Conservative Manifesto, the Employment Bill was framed as an implementation of the findings of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices from 2016. This highlighted among other things the need for:
- A single enforcement body to crack down on employers abusing employment law, by taking workers' tips or refusing them sick pay.
- Ensuring workers have the right to request a more predictable contract and other reasonable protections.
- Allowing consultations on flexible working and making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.
Not surprisingly, the report of further delays has led to anger from trade unions and the Labour party, particularly in light of the recent P&O Ferries' firing of 800 staff.
In spite of the report in the Financial Times, the Second Reading of the Employment Bill is scheduled to take place on Friday 6 May 2022, so there may yet be scope for it to progress.