The 2022 Queen’s Speech was delivered in the Houses of Parliament on 10 May 2022, setting out details of the legislation that the government is to introduce in, or carry over into, the new Parliamentary session which started on the same date. The notable point from an employment law perspective is that there was no mention of the long-awaited Employment Bill. This Bill was part of the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 and was originally expected to be published in 2020 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The absence of the Bill from the government’s legislative programme for the forthcoming twelve months suggests that it will not now be published until 2023. Assuming it is published in 2023 and isn’t shelved, it remains to be seen whether it will include all the legislative provisions that were promised when it was announced in December 2019. 

Four Bills that were announced which may be of some interest from an employment perspective are: 

  • the Brexit Freedoms Bill, which will create new powers to strengthen the UK’s ability to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law by reducing the need to always use primary legislation to do so, and will remove the supremacy of retained EU law over UK law
  • the Data Reform Bill, which will reduce the burdens on UK businesses by creating a data protection framework that is focussed on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking, and will modernise the Information Commissioner’s Office so that it has the capabilities and powers to take stronger action against businesses that breach data protection rules
  • the Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill, which will empower ports to surcharge ferry operators if they do not pay the equivalent of the national minimum wage to seafarers while in UK territorial waters and ultimately to suspend them from access to the port, and will require ferry operators to have access to all relevant details of employment terms even if they do not employ crew directly. A consultation on this proposed new legislation has now been launched and will close on 7 June 2022
  • the Modern Slavery Bill, which will strengthen the requirements on businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual modern slavery statement, will mandate the reporting areas to be covered in modern slavery statements and will require businesses to publish their statements on a government-run registry, with civil penalties for businesses that do not comply with the requirements.

Source: New feed