Government employment policies and ministerial appointments following the 2015 General Election

2015-05-20 chris posted:

Following the general election on 7th May 2015, the Cabinet Office has announced a number of ministerial appointments relevant in employment law. Sajid Javid MP has been appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Priti Patel MP has been appointed as Employment Minister. These had been held by Vince Cable and Esther McVey who lost their seats in the election.

In other appointments, Michael Gove becomes Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. Nick Boles continues as Minister of State at the Department for Education and ain Duncan Smith continues as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Based on the key pledges in the Conservative Party manifesto, the following policies are expected in the Queen's Speech, which will be delivered on 27th May 2015.

The banning of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts which would make exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts unenforceable;

The Human Rights Act 1998 will be repealed and replaced with a British Bill of Rights. This is with the aim of breaking the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, making the Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK; and

Significant changes to strike laws, including:

  • A minimum turnout of 40% of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots;
  • A majority vote by all those who turn out to vote in the health, transport, fire and education sectors;
  • Requiring that strike action cannot be called "on the basis of ballots conducted years before; and
  • Allowing the use of agency workers to cover striking employees.

To increase the National Minimum Wage to over £8 an hour by the end of 2020 and increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 so anyone earning less than £12,500 will not pay income tax, together with encouraging businesses to pay the Living Wage.

Create an extra 3 million apprenticeships over the next 5 years.

Increase the entitlement of free childcare to 30 hours for all children of working parents aged 3 and 4 years old.

Introduce stricter labour market regulation to tackle illegal working and exploitation and use data from multiple agencies to identify businesses that employ illegal workers.

On equality, the Conservatives propose to halve the disability employment gap, getting hundreds of thousands of disabled people into employment, and promote gender equality by requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees.

The Government proposes to end "taxpayer-funded six-figure payoffs" for public sector workers. Although there is no further detail given in the manifesto, the Party has previously indicated that it will introduce new legislation capping public sector enhanced redundancy payments to £95,000.

Encourage those suffering from long-term yet treatable conditions, such as obesity or addictions, back into work by reducing their benefits if they refuse a recommended treatment and provide significant support to those suffering from mental health problems which prevent them from working.

Make volunteering for 3 days a year a workplace entitlement for people working in large companies and the public sector.

The employment team at Renney and Co Employment Solicitors will keep you up to date with the latest details of these and any other policies and procedures if and when they start to work their way through Parliament. To keep yourself up to date, check out our regular blog posts, sign up to our newsletter or contact us on 01225 632240 or at info@renneyandco.com.

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