The reform of the House of Lords and an extension of flexible working were two of the headline proposals in today’s Queen’s Speech.

Responding to the Government’s legislative programme John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

“The test for this Queen’s Speech is whether it will help businesses to grow. Two Bills stand out for me: energy and regulatory reform. The first should help, but the jury’s out on the second.”
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is designed to overhaul the Employment Tribunal system and transform the dispute resolution landscape. According to the Government it will:

  • improve the effectiveness and efficiency of competition enforcement and the competitiveness of markets by strengthening the regime and improving the speed and predictability for business;
  • set the purpose of the UK Green Investment Bank and ensure its independence to help accelerate private sector investment in the UK’s transition to a green economy;
  • strengthen the framework for setting directors’ pay by introducing binding votes;
  • extend the Primary Authority scheme, reduce inspection burdens on business and strengthen the legal framework for sunset clauses on regulation; and
  • repeal unnecessary legislation, cutting the burden on business and citizens.

Commented Vanessa Hogan, Senior Associate at law firm, Hogan Lovells:

“As confirmed in the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation, in future employees will be required to engage in ‘pre-claim conciliation’ to try and reduce the number of cases going to the Employment Tribunal. Employers will welcome this if it succeeds. But it remains to be seen if pre-claim conciliation is any more successful than the repealed statutory dispute resolution procedures that had the same objective.

“The Speech also contained confirmation that the Government intends to press ahead with a more flexible system of parental leave to allow parents to balance their work and family commitments. However, it is still unclear what form this system will take. Although the Government response to the Modern Workplaces consultation was originally due last  year, the response has still not been published.”