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Employment Rights

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what new employment rights have been provided by legislation introduced since 1997. (93502)

[holding answer 16 October 2006]: In addition to creating record levels of employment, we have also introduced a safety net of protections for people at work:

A minimum wage of £5.35 an hour from October 2006;

A minimum wage for 16 to 17-year-olds, up to £3.30 from October 2006;

A free choice to work longer, but a right not to work more than 48 hours on average a week;

Rest periods;

Four weeks' paid leave;

Access to a discipline and grievance procedure;

A reduction in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from two years to one;

Protection for workers raising concerns about wrongdoing at work (through the Public Interest Disclosure Act);

Comprehensive reform of the Regulations governing employment agencies and businesses;

Increased maternity leave;

Paternity leave, adoption leave, parental leave and time-off for domestic emergencies;

A right to request flexible working with an obligation on employers to treat the request seriously.

A right to no discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or age;

Equal treatment for part-time and fixed-term employees compared with their full-time or permanent colleagues;

A right for employees to be informed and consulted by their employer;

Revised and updated TUPE regulations.

For trade union members we have provided:

A right to trade union recognition for collective bargaining in specified circumstances;

A right for a union official to accompany a worker to a disciplinary or grievance hearing;

Enhanced protections against unfair dismissal for employees taking part in lawfully organised industrial action, including the 12 week period of automatic protection against dismissal;

Improved rights to belong to trade unions, including rights to use the services of the union.