The long-awaited employment bill has not been included in today’s Queen’s Speech – the third time it has been dropped. GQ|Littler, the specialist employment law firm, says the delay will lead to continued uncertainty for employers.
The bill was first promised by the Government in December 2019 but was absent from both the 2020 and 2021 legislative agenda, with the pandemic cited as the reason for delay.
The proposed changes in the employment bill included the right to request flexible working from day one, the right to carers’ leave, and the extension of redundancy protection for women returning from maternity leave. The bill was also expected to create a single enforcement body for employment rights.
GQ|Littler says that companies are increasingly moving forward with enhancing their own flexible working policies above the current legislative framework in order to attract and retain key talent in a highly competitive job market.
Sophie Vanhegan, Partner at GQ|Littler says: “Yet another delay to the employment bill inevitably leads to continued uncertainty for employers, who have been unable to determine whether their policies and practices need to be updated in readiness for the proposed changes.”
“A lot of large corporates have already gone ahead and put similar measures of their own in place. In the absence of legislation, the current tight labour market is generating change in and of itself. Employers competing for talent are leading the way in the absence of these changes coming through changes to the law.”
“However, many employers we speak to would welcome a level playing field on these issues and would welcome the Government taking the lead on employment rights.”
GQ|Littler is a leading specialist employment law firm and the London office of Littler, the largest global employment and labour law practice devoted exclusively to representing management. With more than 1,600 lawyers in over 100 offices worldwide, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere.
Offering risk-based contentious and non-contentious advice, our legal expertise includes employment, immigration, data privacy and employee tax and incentives. Our client base spans a wide range of sectors including financial services, technology, healthcare, professional services and luxury goods, in the UK and internationally.
GQ|Littler is recognised as a leader in its field by both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. The firm is noted for “carving out a reputation in the employment sphere” and offering the “experience, technical expertise and quality of advice of a magic circle law firm, but with the personal touch and client-focus of a boutique firm”.
To better understand the myriad forces transforming the European workplace and the actions employers are taking in response, see Littler’s 2021 European Employer Survey Report. Littler surveyed more than 530 human resources executives, in-house attorneys and business leaders based mainly across Western and Southern Europe.