CIPD responds to announcements on work in Queen’s Speech


Plans outlined by the Government in the Queen’s Speech on pensions, zero hours and apprenticeships have been welcomed by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Charles Cotton, Performance and Reward Adviser at the CIPD, comments: “Giving employees greater choice over what they do with their pension pots is to be welcomed, but it will be vitally important to ensure that people are made aware of the potential consequences of drawing down their pensions as they wish. Individuals need first and foremost to plan for a sustainable retirement, and avoid making decisions that could jeopardise their financial security when they stop working. It will therefore be important for savers to be given access to independent and objective advice before the point of retirement, so that they are well informed about the options available to them and how they stand to be affected.”

The CIPD also welcomed plans to tackle abuses of zero hours contracts, included in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, comments: “CIPD research into zero hours workers shows that while, overall, zero hours workers enjoy similar levels of job satisfaction to other workers and report better work-life balance and less stress, there are significant areas of bad practice which should be addressed. For example, nearly half of zero hours workers have had work cancelled on them with no notice, while a quarter say they are never or only sometimes allowed to work for another employer when their primary employer has no work available for them.”

The Government has yet to unveil how it intends to crack down on zero hours contract abuses, with the official response to the Department for Business’ consultation expected to be announced over the next few months.

The CIPD is calling for government to:

Ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts unless there is a compelling and justifiable business reason for their use.
Introduce a right for zero-hours workers to request a minimum number of hours per week after 12 months of employment.
Amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to ensure workers are entitled to written terms and conditions no later than two months into employment.
Support the creation of a code of practice on the use of zero hours contracts

On Apprenticeships, Katerina Rudiger, Head of Skills and Policy Campaigns at the CIPD, comments: “The need for greater Apprenticeship provision in the UK is clear. The ambition to deliver two million Apprenticeship to start over this Parliament is an admirable ambition, and we welcome the Government’s success in delivering so many new starts to date However, looking ahead, it is vital to continue to ensure that Apprenticeships are high-quality and responsive to the needs of employers. This will mean continuing to engage employers in developing training programmes for each of the Apprenticeships frameworks, giving them the level of co-investment and the impetus they need to ensure the training their apprentices receive benefits their organisation and the apprentices themselves. It will also be vital to ensure smaller employers are encouraged to provide more high-quality Apprenticeships, and given the information and support they need to do so.”

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