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What are the employment and immigration implications of the Queen’s speech?

Lodder’s employment law specialist, Nick Rowe, explains what the Queen’s speech means for employment and immigration legislation.

On 19 December 2019, the Queen’s Speech was delivered in the Houses of Parliament, setting out details of legislation that the government intends to carry over into, or introduce in, the forthcoming parliamentary session.

New employment legislation

A new employment bill will provide for a single labour market enforcement agency, the right to request a more predictable contract, and the right to neonatal leave and pay for parents of premature or sick babies, all of which were previously anticipated by the Good Work Plan.

The bill will also take forward the extension of the period of redundancy protection, from the point an employee notifies her employer of her pregnancy, until six months after the end of her maternity leave.

The provision of a week’s leave for unpaid carers, and making flexible working the default, as set out in the Conservative party’s manifesto, will also be included. Provision will be made for tips to be received by workers in full.

As part of its national disability strategy, the government will be bringing forward detailed proposals next year following its “health is everyone’s business” consultation.

Legislation will be brought forward to reduce the disruption caused by rail strikes, ensuring that the public is not disproportionately affected by strike action, while preserving rail workers’ right to strike.

Changes for immigration

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will end free movement in UK law, and allow the government to align the treatment of EU citizens arriving from 1 January 2021 with non-EU citizens. It will lay the foundations for a new points-based immigration system from 2021.

There are proposals to introduce a fast-track NHS visa scheme, and to increase the annual quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

The government also plans to increase the immigration health surcharge. The government reiterated its commitment to ensuring that EU citizens resident in the UK have the right to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Continued assessment 

What is very clear is that the next few months are going to provide a period of change, and will require continued reflection and assessment. Employers will have to be very nimble with respect to their approach to new legislation and employees’ rights in an ever-changing landscape.

Lodders’ team of employment solicitors offer accurate, focused, and solution-based legal advice to a wide range of clients. We have forged an excellent reputation for advising SMEs, publicly owned companies, charities, and other bodies; as well as senior employees and stakeholders in respect of all manner of employment and commercial related issues.

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Get in touch...

For more information on our Employment Team, please get in contact with Nick Rowe on 01242 229096 or via email.