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The Queen’s Speech 2014: Employment Law Implications

Our illustrious Head of State and all around good egg, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, has given her annual speech signalling the opening of a new legislative session at Parliament, this being the last of such she will give under the current coalition Government.

So aside from fainting junior members of the aristocracy, did anything of interest take place I hear you ask? Well in relation to employment law the answer to that question would be a resounding yes.

Employers appear to have been divided over the proposed reform of zero hours’ contracts contained in the speech, as indeed they have been on the topic generally for some time. The proposal contained in the speech came in the form of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill. The focus of such a Bill being said to be on “improving the fairness of contracts for low-paid workers”.

There was in addition a proposed move towards imposing more severe penalties on employers that flout the minimum wage legislation.

Zero hours’ contracts have in particular courted controversy of late, with some employers adopting them widely on the basis of their flexibility, however the same employers have drawn criticism for their excessive usage and accused of taking advantage of their workforce.

Other sources in the retail industry have said that the contracts are popular with their workers owing to them being able to refuse work during the summer holidays when the weather is improved and children are off school.

In terms of the actual measures that may end up being implemented, options include enabling staff to work simultaneously for other companies and forcing employers to hire them on full time contracts after one year’s full service.

As with all prospective legislation, none of these measures are guaranteed to make it through both Houses in the form they started life as, though one would place solid money on there being some form of added protection being implemented for those on zero hours’ contracts.

If you need any advice and assistance in either zero hours’ contracts or the National Minimum Wage legislation please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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