Our monthly look at employment law changes and developments
A number of prospective employment law changes were announced in the Queen’s Speech last week.
Firstly, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will when enacted make changes in the area of the employment tribunal system and dispute resolution generally. Many of these possible changes have been well-trailed, such as the early and compulsory use of ACAS in employment disputes, and the introduction of some kind of fee system for lodging an employment tribunal claim. It will be interesting to see which of these changes eventually make it into law.
Secondly, the Children and Families Bill will give parents access to flexible parental leave such that they can share caring responsibilities more easily. This will undoubtedly involve a system of parental leave (perhaps up to 34 weeks) being shared between the parents, although the exact details are still to be finalised. Employers will no doubt be frustrated at more changes to this ever-complex area of law.
The BIS website says that both Bills are expected to receive an early introduction.
There was no explicit reference in the Speech to flexible working, or the right to request it being extended to all employees, which many had anticipated. However this is something which could still nevertheless be included in the Children and Families Bill.
In another move, the Government has launched a consultation on the possible repeal of the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 which make employers liable for acts of harassment of their staff by third parties.