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The Queen’s Speech 2015: The implications on employment law

This week the Queen’s Speech was delivered setting out the government’s plans to make changes relating to migrant workers, tax allowances, childcare, apprenticeships and proposals regarding a British Bill of Rights. How will these impact on employment law and affect SME’s? Here is a brief overview:

Enterprise Bill

The government wants to help small business via the passing of the Enterprise Bill which will introduce:

• Measures to reduce regulation on small businesses which will in turn help create more jobs.

• A cap on exit payments made to public sector workers to end six-figure payoffs.

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

Three million new apprenticeships over the next five years is what the government wants. To reach this goal, the Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill will introduce statutory duties on ministers to report annually on progress towards:

• Achieving full employment; and

• Meeting the target of three million new apprenticeships.

Immigration Bill

The government wishes to reduce the demand for skilled migrant workers and clamp down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers. The following provision will enable the government to achieve its aims:

• Making it illegal for employment agencies to only recruit from abroad without advertising those jobs in Britain.

• Illegal working will be considered as criminal offence and the wages that are paid to illegal migrants will be allowed to be seized as proceeds of crime.

• A new enforcement agency to be created with powers to take action against employers who exploit migrant workers.

Finance Bill/National Insurance Contributions Bill

The government has ensured that future increases to the personal income tax allowance will be linked to changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This will ensure that people working 30 hours a week on the NMW will not pay income tax.

The personal tax allowance is set annually through the Finance Bill.

Legislation will be brought forward to ensure that there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates and National Insurance contributions for individuals, employees and employers for the next five years

Childcare Bill

The government wants to maintain helping working people and the passing of the Childcare Bill will increase the provision of free childcare for eligible working parents of children aged three and four years old to 30 hours a week (for 38 weeks of the year).

British Bill of Rights

The Queen’s Speech refers to the government bringing forward proposals for replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 with the British Bill of Rights. However further details as to when legislation will actually be brought in to implement was not given in the speech.

Prior to the election the Conservatives vowed to replace the HRA 1998 with a British Bill of Rights which was a key manifesto pledge therefore the government seems to have taken a step back by simply making reference to proposals rather than legislation in the speech.

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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