Today’s Queen’s Speech had a very surprising omission, the much anticipated employment bill did not feature at all. As she officially reopened Parliament, the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords highlighted 30 laws that are intended to be passed in the coming year, including some carried forward from the previous session, however no employment bill despite it being promised in her 2019 speech.
This is a major blow as there are still 50 or so agreed recommendations from the Good Work Plan (originating from Matthew Taylor’s review of modern employment practices) to be implemented. When you consider that Matthew Taylor did his research and published his report in July 2017, almost 4 years ago, we find it very difficult to accept the continuing lack of positive action to implement the agreed recommendations.
Of course COVID-19 and Brexit have both significantly impacted parliamentary time in recent years and inevitably these issues had to be prioritised. However the employment bill was widely anticipated to come in the new parliamentary session given that so many policy consultations have taken place and are awaiting implementation.
On the lack of employment bill, BEIS commented:
“We will introduce the Employment Bill when the time is right given the profound effects the pandemic is having on the economy and the labour market. In the meantime we’re taking and have taken unprecedented but necessary steps to support businesses and protect jobs and we will continue to do so.”
Whilst the speech promised to “support a lifetime skills guarantee” plus create 80,000 green jobs, which are both extremely positive policies, we are left wondering exactly when workers rights will be prioritised?