The government has announced its plans for a new Employment Bill which would improve workers’ rights, promote fairness in the workplace, and establish a new single enforcement body to offer greater protections to workers.
With many concerned that workers’ rights will suffer after Brexit, these promises were initially incorporated within the government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill in a bid to win support from Labour MPs. However, any promises regarding workers’ rights after Britain leaves the EU were retracted from the version of the Bill which was accepted by MPs on 20 December, although the government has said that employment reform will be dealt with through its own separate legislation aimed at making Britain “the best place in the world to work”.
So what developments and improvements can we expect?
The government is proposing to establish a single market enforcement agency to ensure workers understand and exercise their legal rights, strengthen enforcement of these rights, and provide a single point of contact for all issues.
The Bill proposes to legislate a ban on employers taking administrative fees or other deductions from tips.
After 26 weeks in employment workers can ask their employer for a more predictable work pattern.
The government announced plans to prohibit redundancy from the point an employee notifies their employer that they are pregnant until six months after the end of their pregnancy or leave, except for in specified circumstances.
Plans to allow parents of sick and premature babies one week of state-funded leave and pay for each week their baby is in hospital, rather than having to rely on maternity/paternity/annual leave.
The Bill proposes to introduce the right to leave of at least a week for unpaid carers, the majority of whom are women.
The government proposes to help workers balance their professional and home commitments by consulting on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to allow it. The change will no doubt be popular with workers, and while employers may find the prospect daunting, greater flexibility may be mutually beneficial, leading to reduced absence rates, enhanced productivity, and improving employers’ ability to attract and retain talent.
If you need advice about your rights in the workplace the please do contact us on 0114 2256666 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.