To tie in with the country’s celebration of the 60 year jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, we thought it might be interesting to look at how the face of employment law has changed throughout her reign by seeing what significant pieces of legislation Her Majesty has given her Royal Assent to, shaping current workplace relations.

Although the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in 1952, it isn’t until 1973 that any employment law passed since the Coronation is still in force today:

1973 – Employment Agencies Act
Regulated employment agencies and businesses, including requiring such businesses to be licensed, and placing restrictions on charging fees for finding employment for job seekers

1974 – Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
Introduced periods of time after which a conviction is regarded as ‘spent’ and is not required to be disclosed

1988 – Access to Medical Reports Act
Provided employees with a right not to have medical reports relating to them disclosed to their employer without their consent

1992 – Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act
Introduced the requirement on employers to inform and consult employees and/or trade unions when proposing redundancies of 20 or more, and to consolidate the previous legislation relating to trade unions, employers’ associations, industrial relations and industrial action

1996 – Employment Rights Act
Consolidated existing legislation relating to employment rights. This is the major piece of legislation containing rights relating to contracts, wages protection, minimum notice periods, unfair dismissal, time off work etc

1998 – Public Interest Disclosure Act
Provided protection against unfair dismissal for employees who make a protected disclosure, commonly known as ‘blowing the whistle’, about their employers who may be undertaking illegal activity

1998 – Data Protection Act
Provided employees with a right to access data held about them upon payment of a fee, and put requirements in place relating to the storage of personal data

1998 – National Minimum Wage Act
Set in place minimum rates of pay for most workers

1998 – Working Time Regulations
Placed restrictions on employee’s daily and weekly working hours, allowed workers to opt out of the 48 hour week, and provided for a minimum yearly paid holiday entitlement

1999 – Employment Relations Act
Created, amongst other things, a right for the employees to be accompanied at disciplinary and grievance hearings

1999 – Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations
Gave women a right to take a minimum period of time off work after they had given birth to a child and protected their return to work after maternity leave; and enabled parents to take unpaid time off in order to take care of their children whilst under a certain age

2000 – Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations
Protected the rights of workers who work part time, creating the pro-rata principle of equal treatment

2002 – Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations
Protected the rights of workers who work on fixed term contracts, ensuring they are not treated less favourably than permanent employees

2002 – Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations
Provided the detail on entitlements for employees to take paid time off work after their partner has given birth or when a child has been adopted

2006 – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations
Updated current law in relation to the protection of employees’ employment when the organisation for which they work is bought by another organisation, or when a service that they provide is contracted out/in

2008 – Pensions Act
Placed requirements on employers to auto enrol their qualifying employees into a pension scheme

2010 – Bribery Act
Imposed a criminal offence on employers for failure to prevent acts of bribery being committed in their organisation

2010 – Equality Act
Consolidated and updated all previous discrimination legislation e.g. Disability Discrimination Act, and introduced further protection for employees with protected characteristics

2010 – Agency Workers Regulations
Created equal treatment rights for agency workers in the hiring organisation, including the right to be equal pay after 12 weeks

2010 – Additional Paternity Leave Regulations
Gave employees rights to be able to take more paid time off work after their partners had given birth, or adopted a child

(Note that the year of Royal Assent does not always match the year of implementation)

As always, Peninsula will be here for you in the future, if you do have any employment law needs call us on
0844 892 2772.