Queen’s Speech 2017: What Employers Need to Know
Today’s Queen’s speech concentrates on Brexit but includes measures to ensure that workers are paid properly and enjoy the rights to which they are legally entitled.
The National Living Wage (for those aged 25 and over) will be increased so that it reaches 60% of median earnings by 2010. The Government will await the report of the Matthew Taylor Review of Employment Practices to help understand whether workers’ rights are in need of modernisation to keep up with modern ways of working. It will also take further steps to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation (but provides no detail).
Other measures announced in the Queens speech include:
Repeal Bill: the Bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and covert EU law into UK law as the UK leaves the EU. This means that the same rules will apply after Brexit, with Parliament being able to make changes in the law after that.
Immigration Bill: the Bill will allow the Government to end free movement, thereby controlling the number of people coming to the UK from Europe, while still allowing the UK to attract the brightest and the best. Once the UK has left the EU, the migration of EU nationals and their family members will be subject to relevant UK law.
Data Protection Bill: the purpose of the Bill is to make the UK’s data protection framework suitable for the new digital age, allowing citizens to better control their data. It will establish a new data protection regime, replacing the Data Protection Act 1998 and includes new rights for people to require major social media platforms to delete information held about them at the age of 18. It will cover both domestic processing and cross-border transfers of personal data and update the powers and sanctions available to the Information Commissioner. It will also implement the EU Data Protection Regulation, helping to put the UK in the best position to maintain its ability to share data with other EU member states and internationally after it leaves the EU.
National Insurance Contributions Bill: the Bill legislates for the National Insurance contribution (NICs) changes announced in the 2016 Budget and 2016 Autumn Statement and will make the NICs system fairer and simpler. It does not include increases to Class 4 contributions (for the self-employed) announced at the time of the Spring Budget 2017 (and then withdrawn).
Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill: the Bill will enable flexible working arrangements (including part time working) for regular Service personnel.
Full details of the legislative agenda can be viewed here.
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