Friday, May 14, 2010

New Government - New Approach to Employment Law?

With a new Government finally being formed after several days of uncertainty following the inconclusive General Election result it will now be interesting to see how this impacts on Employment Law.

The major piece of legislation which was due to start coming into force in October was the Equality Act. Pre-Election the Conservatives had said that there were only 3 parts of the Act which they did not propose to implement -

  • the requirement for public bodies to consider the socio-economic impact of "strategic decisions"
  • the provision allowing for "positive action" where candidates are of equal merit
  • the power to make regulations requiring gender pay reporting for employers with 250 or more employees

Whether the arrival in office of the first coalition Government since World War II will lead to a change of approach will be interesting to see. Vince Cable is the Minister in charge of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and whether the Liberal Democrats' views will therefore percolate into law only time will tell.

Perhaps more fundamental to the future than the change in ruling Party is the forthcoming period of austerity. Whoever had won last week it is unlikely that giving employees expensive new rights or increasing funding for Employment Tribunals to enforce rights would have been high up their agenda.