What do we already know?
1. Enterprise Bill: we updated you in our September 2015 Newsletter Government reforms (2): Enterprise bill on the Government’s plans to introduce this Bill which would:
- include the introduction of a cap on exit payments made to public sector workers (for further information see our February 2016 Newsflash Reforming public sector exit payments – consultation);
- regulate the use of the word “apprenticeship” to cover only Government-accredited schemes and increasing the number of public sector apprenticeships offered and establishing a new Institute for Apprenticeships (see Apprenticeships); and
- set up a Small Business Commissioner to help small firms handle disputes with larger businesses and reduce regulation on small businesses generally to help create more jobs.
2. Trade Union Bill: we updated you in our July 2015 Newsletter Government reforms (1): Trade union bill on the Government’s proposed package of Trade Union reforms. We let you know of the House of Lords’ further changes to the Bill in our April 2016 Newsletter Government reforms (3): Trade union bill. The reforms include:
- requirement for at least 50% turnout in votes for industrial action;
- in certain public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal;
- setting a 6 month time limit (which can be increased to 9 months if the union and employer agree) for industrial action so that mandates are always recent;
- requiring a clearer description of the trade dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper, so that all union members are clear what they are voting for;
- creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions that allows new members to make an active choice of paying into political funds; and
- ensuring that payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered where the cost is not funded by the public.
On 4 May 2016 the Government had a busy day and the final step (Royal Assent) was taken in respect of both above Bills meaning that they can now become law.
- Enterprise Act 2016: The Enterprise Bill is now the Enterprise Act 2016. The Act will give effect to a number of government commitments, including those above.
It is expected that these changes will become law in October 2016. However, this is not yet confirmed. We’ll be sure to update you on this once we know more…
- Trade Union Act 2016: The Trade Union Bill is now the Trade Union Act 2016.
It is likely that this Act will be phased into law during this year and perhaps into 2017. We’ll be sure to update you on this once we know more…