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Queen's Speech 2017: employment law implications

Key points of interest the government intends to carry over into, or introduce in, the 2017-19 Parliamentary session include:

  • National living wage. The national living wage (NLW) will increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020. After 2020, the NLW will continue to rise in line with average earnings.

  • Immigration. The Immigration Bill, covering the whole of the UK, will establish a new national policy on immigration, including new powers concerning the immigration status of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. The Bill will allow the government to repeal EU law on immigration, primarily free movement, which otherwise would have been saved and converted into UK law by the Repeal Bill. The migration of EU nationals and their family members will be made subject to relevant UK law after Brexit.

  • Data protection. A new Data Protection Bill will make the UK's data protection framework fit for the digital age and give individuals more control over their data, including the right to be forgotten. It will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and implement the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), putting the UK in a position to maintain the ability to share data with EU member states after Brexit.

  • Gender pay gap and discrimination. This issue is dealt with under the heading "non-legislative measures". The government states that it intends to make further progress in tackling the gender pay gap and reducing discrimination on all grounds. No new measures were announced, but existing steps (such as the introduction of gender pay gap reporting and shared parental leave, the McGregor-Smith Review into race in the workplace and the Parker Review on ethnic diversity on boards) were referenced.

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