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Equality Bill receives Royal Assent to become the Equality Act 2010

Equality Bill receives Royal Assent to become the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Bill received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 to become the Equality Act 2010. The main employment provisions are scheduled to come into force in October 2010; however, much will depend on the result of the General Election as to whether the timetable still applies and all of the Act’s provisions will be enacted.

After consideration of the House of Lords amendments by the Commons in the wash-up period prior to the dissolution of Parliament before the General Election, the Equality Bill received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 to become the Equality Act 2010. The timetable for implementation published by the current Labour Government allows for the implementation of the main employment provisions in October 2010, followed by the integrated public sector Equality Duty and the Socio-economic Duty in April 2011.

Even though the Act has been published, the final provisions are still not certain, since a number of regulations need to be made to put ‘flesh on the bones’. Whichever Government is elected, this means that we may have to wait sometime to be certain about the requirements of the new legislation, as Parliament will not return until 18 May and will not be open until the Queen’s Speech on 25 May.

A further delay may result as a consequence of a statement in the Commons’ debate in the wash-up period. Mark Harper MP, while reiterating the Conservative party’s general support for the Act, made it quite clear that if the Conservatives form the next Government they will not bring into force the public sector socio-economic duty, the provisions designed to tackle equal pay and new rules on positive action.

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