What next for employment law post-referendum?
Employment, benefits, social security and immigration are all matters currently reserved to the UK Parliament.
As part of the promises made to the Scottish electorate in advance of the referendum vote last week, Gordon Brown included employment rights amongst those further powers that he believes should be devolved to Scotland.
A House of Commons debate on Gordon Brown’s 12-point plan is expected in mid-October and a draft bill is to be drawn up by Burns Night. Amending legislation is, however, unlikely to be passed until after the General Election in May 2015.
Were the SNP to have the requisite majority to make use of devolved power to legislate on employment rights, the White Paper published in November 2013 gives us an outline of the keys issues they may look to tackle:
- Worker representation on company boards
- Targets for greater representation of women on company boards
- Making the living wage and minimum wage central to their employment policies
- Guaranteed work, apprenticeship or training for young people under 24
- Restoring 90 days’ consultation in collective redundancy situations affecting 100+ staff
- Abolishing the shares for rights scheme
Johann Lamont made a commitment that, if the No campaign was successful and Scottish Labour is returned to government in Holyrood at the next Scottish Parliamentary elections, the administration would abolish tribunal fees. National support for such a move could also be on the agenda for next week’s Labour Party Conference.
UNISON are reported to be lodging a fresh judicial review application using the most recent Employment Tribunal statistics that continue to reveal a significant drop in claims.