Queen's Speech leaves significant gaps

Published on: 11/05/2022


On Tuesday 10 May, Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s Speech, outlining the Government’s aims and priorities for the parliamentary year ahead. This year, the speech contained a large focus on post covid and post Brexit economic stability, and proposals to tackling the rising cost of living. For employees and employers, however, there was little in terms of announcements or plans. Instead, the focus has been the omission of any reference to the planned Employment Bill.  

First announced in as part of the 2019 Queens Speech, the Employment Bill was tipped to tackle worsening protections for workers, leave entitlement for unpaid carers, the unpredictability of worker’s contracts, redundancy protections for maternity discrimination, and flexible working. With regards to the latter, in a post pandemic world it had been predicted that flexible working may well become the default in the absence of good reasoning not to from the employer.  

This surprising omission from the Queen’s Speech has caused a stir among employment commentators and Trade Union officials, wary that the proposed employment bill will be abandoned for good. It should be noted that it is now 5 years since the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, an independent report that confirmed the UK’s need to modernise its approach to Labour. Furthermore, that this exclusion comes after the large-scale dismissals by P&O has only added to the sense of anxiety amongst work forces; however, the Department for Transport has stated the new Harbours Bill and Seafarer’ Remuneration Bill will go some-way to tackling operational loopholes used by firms working in and out of UK ports.  

Whilst the Employment Bill was not mentioned, the new Data Reform Bill was. We expect many employers are still only just getting to grips with the GDPR. The government has promised the new bill will reduce, what they call, the 'excessive paperwork' caused by the European Legislation. We do not expect wholesale changes are likely as the UK has only recently been granted an adequacy decision by the EU allowing a free flow of data between the states as long as the EU’s high data protection standards are met.

We can expect however that the ICO will be given increased powers to act against data breaches or breaches of data rules. With the volume of employee data continually on the rise as workplaces modernise and many continue to work from home, it continues to be crucial for companies to stay on top of their data protection obligations; obligations that may soon change.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.