Employment Law under the New Coalition Government

The Prime Minister and his deputy Nick Clegg unveiled their Coalition Agreement, “The Coalition: our programme for government”, on 20 May 2010. It expands the initial agreement reached in the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition negotiations on 11 May 2010. However, it lacks significant detail. The new Coalition Government states it will “review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees, to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.” What this will mean in practice is currently unclear.

The Coalition Government has stated that it will end the “gold-plating” of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors. This may mean regulations (such as the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE”)), which go beyond what is required by their EU Directives, face amendment. It also suggests that the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 may be limited. In line with this approach, David Cameron has also pledged in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, that through the introduction of a European Union Bill no further powers will be transferred to the EU without a referendum.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats featured various employment law issues in their manifestos. In the full article we discuss some of these issues and how they have been addressed, if at all, in the Coalition Agreement. Most notably absent from the Coalition Agreement is any discussion of the Equality Act and regulations affecting agency workers.

This article first appeared in Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service, and has been reproduced with their permission. For more information about Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com.