1 Baroness Merron debates involving the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Fri 28th Jan 2022
Status of Workers Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

3rd reading & 3rd reading

Status of Workers Bill [HL]

Baroness Merron Excerpts
Lord Hendy Portrait Lord Hendy
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That the Bill do now pass.

Baroness Merron Portrait Baroness Merron (Lab)
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My Lords, I speak in place of my noble friend Lord Bassam, who cannot be here today.

We on these Benches support my noble friend Lord Hendy and his Bill, which will create a single status of worker. I express my thanks to my noble friend for introducing the Bill and for his amendment, along with his great honesty about the need for it.

The Bill elegantly replaces existing employment categories, thereby removing qualifying periods for basic rights and protections. It gives workers rights in the job from day one, so all workers would receive rights and protections, such as statutory sick pay, national minimum wage entitlement, holiday pay, paid parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal, while the genuinely self-employed would retain their status. It is of course a shame that parliamentary time limits mean that the Bill may be going no further. I therefore hope to see it as a government Bill before too long.

Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe (Con)
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My Lords, I have made this speech on a number of occasions. There are roughly 6 million trade unionists in Britain, and a third of them—2 million—vote for the party on these Benches. I am pleased, on their behalf, to welcome the Bill. It is a good step forward, because we always need to keep in mind the balance between the rights of the workers and those of the employers. This is a good Bill that rights an anomaly, and I hope that it will go further. I know that is difficult, but it is certainly in the right place and it has my personal full support.