A National Insurance Contributions Bill, addressing the cost of employing people, and measures aimed at furthering the Government’s deregulation agenda feature in the Queen’s speech, which sets out legislation planned for the coming year.
The National Insurance Contributions Bill will introduce a new employment allowance, giving all businesses, including charities, a reduction of £2,000 per annum from their employer national insurance contributions from April 2014. The measure is intended to help small businesses in particular with the cost of employing people. The Government states that around 450,000 employers will be taken out of paying employer national insurance contributions altogether. The introduction of the employment allowance had previously been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 2013 Budget.
The Deregulation Bill will introduce measures intended to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on busineses. The proposed measures include:
• removing the power of employment tribunals to make wider recommendations in successful discrimination cases under the Equality Act 2010; and
• exempting from health and safety law those self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others.
Other announcements of relevance to employers in the Queen’s speech include measures to:
• increase the availability of childcare for working parents and reduce childcare costs;
• make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property;
• introduce greater flexibility in pay for teachers;
• strengthen the reserve forces;
• increase access to traineeships and apprenticeships for school leavers; and
• double the level of fines for employers using illegal workers.
With extensive employment law reform measures already provided for under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and other legislation, the speech included fewer announcements directly relating to employment law than in previous years.
• The Queen’s Speech 2013 Read the full text of the Queen’s Speech on the UK Government website.
• Queen’s Speech 2013: Background briefing notes Background briefing notes on the announcements in the Queen’s Speech are available on the UK Government website.