Queen’s Speech: employment law reforms

The proposed legislative programme put forward in the Queen’s Speech contained some thought-provoking news for employers. New measures will focus primarily on preventing abuses of the national minimum wage and zero-hours contracts, but improving childcare provisions for working families and employer-friendly reforms were also on the agenda.

The main piece of proposed legislation that affects employers is the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. Among other things, the bill will contain measures to tackle various high-profile issues, including further measures to ‘prevent expensive tribunal delays’ and to curb the retention of redundancy pay-outs by public sector employees who quickly return to work in the same area. The bill will also aim to crack down on abuses of the national minimum wage and zero-hours contracts, as well as introducing a legal requirement to ensure that regulations affecting small businesses are either cut or are truly effective.

Childcare was also on the agenda, with the government announcing that it will improve the flexibility of existing childcare regulations to meet the needs of working families. The Childcare Payments Bill will also introduce a new scheme (to be launched in autumn 2015) to assist working families by giving support equivalent to basic rate tax relief on money spent on childcare, up to £2,000 per year for each child. This will supersede the existing voluntary employer-supported childcare system (which is unavailable to the self-employed or those on national minimum wage)…

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