60 Years Of Employment Law

Peninsula Team

June 15 2012

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.

Suggested Resources