Skip to main content

Employment Bill: Committees call on Government to bring forward workers’ rights plans

27 May 2021

The Chairs of the Work and Pensions Committee and the BEIS Committee have called on the Government to bring forward the Employment Bill to tackle insecure work and guarantee the rights of workers in the gig economy.

The two Committees wrote to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng earlier this month after there was no mention of the legislation in the Queen’s Speech. In his response, published today, the Secretary of State said the Employment Bill would be introduced ‘when the time is right’ and ‘not while the pandemic is ongoing’.

Chairs' comments 

Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“The Employment Bill has been in the pipeline for far too long—the Government should not be using Covid-19 as an excuse to put it off any longer. The pandemic has only heightened the need for workers to be properly protected, with booming demand for apps like Deliveroo and many people moving into the gig economy. Now is the right time for the Government to move beyond a vague commitment to enhancing workers’ rights and bring forward legislation that will improve workplace protections and put those in low-paid work on a more secure footing.”

Darren Jones MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

“Covid-19 has further exposed the alarming disparities between insecure and secure work, with those in poorly paid and precarious work going without the protections they deserve. The Government says it will introduce the Employment Bill ‘when the time is right’ – that surely has to be now.”

The Government announced its intention to introduce an Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech of 2019 following the conclusion of the Taylor Review into modern working practices in 2017. The Bill was never published.

In a report in June 2020, the Work and Pensions Committee called for the Employment Bill to be brought forward ‘as soon as possible’, with the Government response promising that legislation would be included in the Queen’s Speech.

Further information

Image: PA