Government Sets Out Legislative Programme in Queen’s Speech
The Government has outlined its legislative programme in today’s Queen’s Speech.
The following will be of interest to employers:
Trade Unions Bill which will:
- Introduce a 50% voting threshold for union ballot turnouts (and retain the requirement for there to be simple majority of votes in favour);
- Introduce a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action in certain essential public services – health, education, fire and transport;
- Tackle intimidation of non-striking workers during a strike; and
- Introduce time limits on a mandate following a ballot for industrial action.
Immigration Bill which will:
- Make it a criminal offence for a migrant to work illegally in the UK and enable their wages to be seized as the proceeds of crime;
- Create a new enforcement agency to crack down on the worst cases of exploitation;
- Make it illegal for employment agencies to recruit solely from abroad without advertising the jobs in Britain in English;
- Consult on funding apprenticeship schemes for British and EU workers by implementing a new visa levy on businesses that use foreign labour; and
- Extend the principle of “deport first, appeal later” to all immigration cases, except where it will cause serious harm.
EU Referendum Bill which will pave the way for an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
The Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill which is intended to help achieve full employment. Measures include:
- Freezing the main rates of the majority of working-age benefits, tax credits and child benefit for two years from 2016-17. Statutory payments such as Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity and Adoption Pay will not be frozen; and
- Requiring ministers to report annually on progress towards achieving the highest employment rate in the G7 and towards meeting its target of 3 million new apprenticeships.
Enterprise Bill which will reduce regulation on small businesses and cap exit payments made to public sector workers.
Finance Bill and National Insurance Contributions Bill which will ensure that:
- People working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax; and
- There are no increases to income tax, VAT or National Insurance Contributions for individuals, employees and employers for the next five years.
Childcare Bill which will give families where all parents are working the right to 30 hours a week free childcare for three and four year olds for 38 weeks a year (equivalent to the school year).
There is no legislation to repeal the Human Rights Act. Instead the Government “will bring forward proposals to replace the Human Rights Act” with a British Bill of Rights.
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