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Queen’s Speech 2022: law to ensure flexible work axed

Story by
Genevieve Bland, Junior Reporter

Boris parliament speech

Measures to give workers a ‘default’ option to work from home has been axed as the Prime Minister warns “this government will not tolerate a post-Covid manana culture”.

The much-anticipated Employment Bill was omitted from the Queen’s Speech, after being introduce as part of a Tory manifesto pledge.

It was during the general elections in 2019, that the government announced it would implement a new employment bill to improve worker’s rights.

Among other reforms such as ensuring hospitality workers received all their tips as well as implementing new pregnancy discrimination policies, the bill would have provided staff with the right to work from home unless employers could argue a ‘good reason’ against it.

Setting out his agenda to parliament on the 10th of May, the prime minister declared the government is limited in its options to help Britons who are experiencing the fall in living standards. He stated his government will face the crisis by creating high-wage, high-skilled jobs to boost economic growth, rather than: “irresponsible spending that merely treats the symptoms of rising prices, while creating an ever bigger problem for tomorrow.”

Johnson added: “For every pound of taxpayer’s money we spend on reducing bills now, it is a pound we are not investing in bringing down bills and prices over the longer term.”

This announcement comes amid Brits facing a cost-of-living squeeze with the Bank of England estimating inflation will reach  40-year high of 10.2% by October this year.

The government faced a backlash from the opposition as Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for the future of work, commented: “Boris Johnson is failing Britain’s workers yet again with more broken promises.

“It’s been three years since the Tories first announced an Employment Bill to tackle working conditions in warehouses run like Victorian workhouses.

“This Prime Minister promised enhanced rights and protections at work, but instead he is dragging Britain’s workers into a race to the bottom.”

CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) was quick to react as to the impact on the world of work with Ben Willmott, head of policy, stating: “The decision to delay the Employment Bill once again leaves the government with very little time to meet its promises to protect and enhance workers’ rights and make the UK the best place in the world to work.

“We still await the government’s response to the consultation on making flexible working the default. However, there remains parliamentary time for the government to make good on its important commitment to boost the availability of flexible working by making the right to request flexible working a day one right.”

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