With less than a week until MPs are due back from their summer holidays, their to-do lists are already bursting at the seams with Brexit, immigration and public sector pay, to name but a few. Key debates that HR needs to be aware of are:
Wednesday 29 August
The House of Lords’ European Union Committee returns early to take evidence from recently-appointed Brexit secretary Dominic Raab. Last week, the government released the first batch of a series of technical notes, including reassuring workers that their rights would not be substantially altered once the UK departs the bloc.
Tuesday 4 September
Labour MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting brings a debate to Westminster Hall on Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) visa cancellations. In 2014, the BBC’s Panorama programme unearthed allegations that some colleges who administered the tests for non-EEA students may have been cheating. However, the Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that individuals who had been affected by the claims should be allowed to challenge them in the UK.
Wednesday 5 September
Theresa May takes on her first PMQs following the summer recess. At her last grilling before the break, the prime minister came under fire for the announcement of a raft of public sector pay rises. In particular, trade unions and shadow ministers slammed the decision to reveal pay rises for teachers, prison officers, police officers and junior doctors on the day before parliament was due to go into recess.
Meanwhile, Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset, is due to bring an adjournment debate on training of nurses in England. NHS recruiters facing skill shortages were recently offered some respite when the government took doctors and nurses out of the cap for Tier 2 visas.
Thursday 6 September
Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy is scheduled to bring an adjournment debate about the treatment of people under immigration control, which has been a hot button issue since the revelation of the Windrush scandal earlier this year.
Monday 10 September
Secretary of state for education Damian Hinds is due to answer questions in the House of Commons’ main chamber. Expect him – along with the ministers in his department – to give at least some comments on the apprenticeship levy.
Thursday 13 September
Penny Mordaunt, minister for women and equalities, is due to take questions. Over the summer, the business, energy and industrial strategy committee released a report on gender pay gap reporting, while the women and equalities select committee recently published reports on older workers in the workforce and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Friday 26 October
This is likely to be a big day for private members’ bills. Currently on the agenda (but not guaranteed to be heard) is Tracy Brabin’s Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill, which would extend shared parental leave to the self-employed, and Frank Field’s Employment Guarantee Bill, which would guarantee paid employment for anybody who has been out of work for at least six months.