Which employment laws will have the biggest impact in the next 20 years?

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We ask six leading employment lawyers what legal developments they think you shold keep an eye on over the next 20 years

David Bradley, partner, DLA Piper

Keep abreast of employment regulations in emerging markets, such as China and India, over the coming years. China’s new Labour Contract Laws came into force in January and the companies most likely to be penalised under these rules will be multinationals that have failed to get to grips with the detail.

Judith Firth, associate, DWF

The right to additional paternity leave – whose introduction has now been delayed until 2010. Employers should brace themselves for a much wider change in working practices.

Teresa Dolan, employment partner, Hammonds

The extension of flexible working rights is going to have a major impact. It is inevitable that employers will face an increasing number of requests from employees so HR should consider how flexible working can be used to their company’s advantage.

Tom Potbury, senior associate, Pinsent Masons

The Equal Pay Act. Employers will face more claims and significant costs, often as a result of breaching the law without even being aware of doing so and with no intention to discriminate.

Judith Harris, professional support lawyer, Addleshaw Goddard

We can expect more developments from Europe, as well as the possibility of a change in emphasis in domestic legislation if the Conservatives win the next general election.

Alan Julyan, senior partner, Speechly Bircham

Age discrimination laws will have the greatest impact. The demographic changes in the population and the uncertainty as to the provision of pensions will lead to the default retirement age of 65 being abolished, so giving older employees greater protection.

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