UK Employment Law Reform Proposals ' Queen's Speech, Data Protection Reform, Labour Market Review, And Other Announcements

Published date22 June 2022
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Privacy, Employee Benefits & Compensation, Employee Rights/ Labour Relations, Data Protection
Law FirmHerbert Smith Freehills
AuthorMs Anna Henderson

The government has an ever-lengthening to-do list when it comes to employment law reform, with several initiatives announced over the last few years still awaiting the moment "when Parliamentary time allows". It is beginning to feel like that time may never come. The long-awaited Employment Bill was once again missed out of the Queen's Speech delivered on 10 May 2022; the only employment law measure included was the Harbours (Seafarers' Remuneration) Bill aimed at ensuring seafarers receive the national minimum wage while in UK waters following on from the P&O situation.

Otherwise, there were a handful of promised bills that may impact on employment law in ways yet to become clear, including the Brexit Freedoms Bill which will "enable law inherited from the European Union to be more easily amended", the Bill of Rights which is to replace the Human Rights Act, and the Data Reform Bill which aims to reduce burdens on business and focus on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking.Last week the Government published its response to the earlier consultation on data protection reform which, even in the absence of a draft Parliamentary bill, gives a good indication of what the new UK data protection regime will look like. Of particular interest from an employment law perspective is the proposal concerning subject access requests: the Government seems to have decided not to re-introduce a nominal processing fee, but is proposing allowing organisations to refuse to respond to "vexatious or excessive" data subject access requests, replacing the existing "manifestly unfounded or excessive" wording (though the difference between these two constructs is as yet unclear). The response also proposes removing or changing a number of the "accountability and governance" obligations currently set out in the UK GDPR, including the requirement to appoint a data protection officer (this will be replaced with the requirement to designate a suitable individual to oversee the organisation's DP compliance), maintain a record of processing activities and to undertake data protection impact assessments. These prescriptive obligations will be replaced by a requirement for organisations to implement a more flexible privacy management programme tailored to the level of the organisation's processing activities and the volume and sensitivity of personal data handled. See the HSF data blog post here for further details.

Other recent announcements include:

  • the Government confirmed on 9 May...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT