Queen`s Speech 2012 - continuing reforms in employment law
16 May 2012
In her Speech delivered at the opening of Parliament last week, the Queen announced Bills to be introduced in the next session of Parliament up to Spring 2013.
Of interest are the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Children and Families Bill and the Crime and Courts Bill.
The scope of further reforms which are set out in a number of Bills include:
- Overhaul of the Tribunal system. The Queen stated last week that "[t]he courts and tribunals service will be reformed to increase efficiency, transparency and judicial diversity."
- The introduction of a new period of shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working arrangements. This ties in with the Coalition targeting to improve ‘family friendly’ practices in the workplace. The proposals for reform in this area were set out in the Consultation on Modern Workplaces in May 2011.
- Moving forward with reform of state pensions and public sector pensions. The Queen confirmed that legislation was being introduced to reform public sector pensions. This follows the phasing out of the default retirement age of 65. Last week saw strikes on the day after the Queen’s speech with the general view from unions being that their members will have to pay more and work longer towards lower pensions. However, the government’s view is that current schemes are now unworkable because they are unfair and unaffordable as people are now living longer.
Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) commented “[w]e are delighted by this confirmation of the Government’s commitment to a long-awaited, landmark reform. This is another big step towards a simpler, more generous state pension that no longer penalises people for saving...[w]e are all living longer, so it is inevitable that retirement ages move upwards to reflect that. The trade-off for working longer must be a better state pension come retirement.”
Encouraging earlier resolution of employment claims by requiring claimants to lodge their claim with Acas.
Proposed reforms are in keeping with what has been the Coalition Government’s agenda for reform of a number of aspects of employment law since coming into power in 2010.
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
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