The Queen gave a speech this week which kicked off the latest session of Parliament. During the speech, her Majesty set out the Government’s proposed legislative plans for the year ahead.
A variety of the proposals are employment related, including a ‘crack down’ on abuse of national minimum wage (NMW) and zero hours contracts, as well as costly tribunal delays.
Briefing notes prepared by the Cabinet Office provide more detail on the proposals. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will include measures targeting:
- abuse of NMW and zero hours contracts;
- costly tribunal delays (the Governments precise intentions are yet to be detailed);
- enhancing flexibility of childcare arrangements to meet the needs of working families; and
- preventing highly paid public sector employees keeping redundancy payments when they return to the same public sector within a short space of time.
The Government also plans to reform apprenticeships by making them more responsive to the needs of employers. The intention is to replace existing apprenticeship frameworks which are ‘long and complex’ with ‘short, simple standards describing the skills and knowledge that an individual needs to be fully competent in an occupation’.
The Government also plans to further support working families by offering the equivalent of basic tax relief on money spent on childcare, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child. The Childcare Payments Bill is pencilled in for autumn 2015 and will be available to all families with children under the age of 12.Jack Boyle Senior Solicitor – Employment Law