Tom Stenner-Evans
Posted on 8 Jun 2015

Queen's Speech / Holiday Pay / Employment Tribunal Fees

Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech was delivered on 27 May 2015, and set out a number of proposals which will impact on employment law.

Trade Unions Bill

The Bill intends to reform trade unions and protect public services from disruption caused by strikes, by introducing the following provisions:

  • Minimum threshold of 50% of voters to turn out to vote on union ballots (with the requirement for a simple majority of votes in favour); 
  • For industrial action in the health, education, fire and transport services, the requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote, vote in favour of striking (in addition to the minimum 50% voting turnout threshold);
  • Prevention of intimidation of non-striking workers during a strike;
  • Time limits on mandates following a ballot for industrial action;
  • Transparent opt-in process for the political fund element of trade union subscriptions; and
  • Changes to the role of Certification Officer.

Finance Bill/National Insurance Contributions Bill

The government will ensure that future increases to the personal income tax allowance are linked to changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This will ensure that people working 30 hours a week on the NMW will not pay income tax.

Legislation will be brought forward to ensure that there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates and National Insurance contributions for individuals, employees and employers for the next five years.

Enterprise Bill

The Enterprise Bill will introduce:

  • Measures to reduce regulation on small businesses to help create more jobs; and
  • A cap on exit payments made to public sector workers to end six-figure payoffs.

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

The government plans to create three million new apprenticeships over the next five years. The Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill will introduce statutory duties on ministers to report annually on progress towards:

  • Achieving full employment; and
  • Meeting the target of three million new apprenticeships. 

ACAS Publishes Guidance on Calculating Holiday Pay

Following the Employment Appeal Tribunal's decision in Bear Scotland Ltd and others v Fulton and others [UKEATS/0047/13], which held that non-guaranteed overtime must be taken into account when calculating statutory holiday pay, ACAS has published guidance on the calculation of such pay.

The guidance explains what should be considered when calculating holiday pay, including pay for different working patterns and payment in lieu of holidays.

Read Calculating Holiday Pay guidance.

Government to Consider Review of Employment Tribunal Fees

Shailesh Vara MP has announced that the government is considering the options for a review of Employment Tribunal fees. The government had previously announced a review of the impact of Employment Tribunal fees but, to date, this has not taken place.

UNISON's appeal against the High Court's dismissal of its judicial review challenge to Employment Tribunal fees will be heard in mid-June.