Last reviewed 12 May 2022

As we reported earlier this week, one of the more noticeable things about the Queen’s Speech was the proposed legislation that was not included, specifically the Employment Bill that was first mooted in 2019 (see Queen’s Speech promises levelling up, education reform and Brexit opportunities).

Describing it as a missed opportunity to protect workers’ rights, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said that the Government had left itself with very little time to meet its promises to protect and enhance workers’ rights and to make the UK the best place in the world to work.

Head of Policy, Ben Willmott, said: “The recent sacking of workers, without notice, by P&O Ferries shows that much more needs to be done to ensure unscrupulous employers cannot ignore their legal responsibilities and undercut employment standards in the UK. It will also be hugely disappointing for working carers that there is no progress on legislating to give them new rights to take time off to manage their caring responsibilities.”

The CIPD has called for the creation of a well-resourced Single Enforcement Body to police the labour market and wants workers to have a day one right to request flexible working.

Reacting to the Speech, the head of employment tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), John Harding, also mentioned the need for a Single Enforcement Body and suggested that failure to introduce the Bill had left employers and employees in limbo as to the Government’s intentions in areas such as rights to flexible working and ensuring that employers pass all tips to their staff.

Making similar points, the TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “No employment bill means vital rights that ministers had promised — like default flexible working, fair tips and protection from pregnancy discrimination — risk being ditched for good.”

The Government has shrugged off the criticism in a statement available here where it lists what it has already done to protect and enhance workers’ rights.

It cites one of the highest minimum wages in the world, the recently extended ban on using exclusivity clauses, closing a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers and giving parents a new legal right to two week’s paid bereavement leave for those who suffer the loss of a child.