Employment Law: five government consultations launched this month - Joseph England explains

The start of the summer break and the end of Theresa May’s tenure has marked a bumper launch of consultations by the government. Such consultations can be very insightful as to future developments and trends that will subsequently appear in legislation. Joseph England explains about five consultations launched in the field of employment and discrimination law:

Health is everyone's business consultation seeks views on different ways in which government and employers can take action to reduce ill health-related job losses. The consultation highlights the greater likelihood for such job losses for disabled workers and provides a questionnaire to answer. Aspects on which consultation is sought include a proposal to provide money to small businesses so that they can pay low-paid workers statutory sick pay, expected to give entitlement to SSP to about 2 million more people, and an increase in fines for employers who fail to pay SSP. Closing on 7 October 2019.

The sexual harassment consultation seeks to gather evidence about whether the current laws on protecting people from sexual harassment in the workplace are effective. Individuals who have experienced harassment are encouraged to respond to an online questionnaire and those responding on behalf of organisations (such as lawyers) are encouraged to respond to a more technical analysis. Closing on 2 October 2019.

The Good work plan consultation: a single enforcement body and one sided flexibility. As part of its Good Work Plan, the government has launched two consultations, both aimed at providing more protection and power to workers rather than employers. The first concerns whether there should be a single enforcement agency for employment rights and the second seeks to tackle the issue of one sided flexibility, “where employers misuse flexible working arrangements, creating an unpredictability in working hours, income insecurity and a reluctance among workers to assert basic employment rights”. They close on 6 and 11 October 2019 respectively.

Parental Leave consultation:  accredited to Mrs May personally, this consultation seeks to provide changes to parental leave entitlements, “to ensure they better reflect our modern society and the desire to share childcare more equally”. It also suggests a new creation of Neonatal Leave and Pay entitlement, available for parents of premature and sick babies who need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care following birth.

Click here to view Joseph England's profile.