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Queen’s Speech 2012

Another May and another Queen’s speech. Despite the trailing in the media the speech itself gave little away about what employers can expect from Parliament in the next 12 months apart from saying that legislation will be introduced to “reduce burdens on business by repealing unnecessary legislation and to limit state inspection of businesses”.

Cutting through what was said to the detail of the legislative timetable, we know that the Government’s plans include the following:

  • an Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – which will involve:
    •  reforms to the employment tribunal system (with the aim of encouraging early resolution of disputes through ACAS);
    • increasing the power of shareholders so give them a binding vote on the remuneration of directors; and
    • the repeal of “unnecessary legislation”. We await further information on what legislation this is.
  • a Public Service Pensions Bill – to move public sector pensions over to a career average scheme and extend the age at which members can draw their pensions;
  • a Children and Families Bill – which will introduce more flexible parental leave which will allow for the sharing of maternity leave between a mother and a father; and
  • (of relevance to employers in the financial sector) a Banking Reform Bill – so that banks that provide retail banking services will only be able to do so if these services are ring fenced from the investment activities of the bank. The aim is to reduce the risk to the taxpayer of a bank going bust by making sure those who have money deposited in bank accounts are given priority over other creditors.

We are also waiting to hear what changes to legislation we can expect following consultations on the Working Time Regulations (will the position on holidays and sickness absence ever be clarified?) and collective redundancy consultation.

So watch this space!

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