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General Election July 2024 -Potential Employment Legislation

Current Trends

General Election 2024

Although polls currently show a clear Labour lead (44% vs Conservatives at 23%), an outright majority is not a foregone conclusion in The General Election .  The following  summarises the pledges and plans of the major parties regarding employment legislation. The similarities and differences, relevant to both an outright win for Labour or the Conservatives and for any coalition or minority government* are detailed. 

(Although Reform appears to be increasing in support, commentators do not expect them to win any/many seats due to the First Past the Post system in place.  Similarly, The Green Party may win a small number of seats, however if Labour does not win an outright majority, the Liberal Democrats are the most complementary coalition partner based on overall policy fit.)   


Party Proposals

 

  • Employment legislation differences in the parties proposals have not been front and centre of campaigning or particularly making the headlines, however there are a significant number of measures included in the party manifestos. 

  • Labour and Liberal Democrats propose many, generally complementary measures to enhance employee benefits, rights and conditions, including making existing and those rights apply from day 1. 

  • All the main parties have measures proposing to enhance minimum wage and support measures to improve the handling of tips for hospitality workers. 

 

 Main Party manifesto coverage on employment matters

Topic 

Conservatives 

Labour 

Liberal Democrats 

Day 1 rights 

 

Remove qualifying periods for basic rights like unfair dismissal, sick pay, and parental leave so they become day-one rights. 

 

Make flexible working the default from day one for all workers except where it is not reasonably feasible. 

Day-one right to parental leave and pay for all, including self-employed and kinship carers; increase length of paternity leave; increase rate of pay during family leave; require employers to publish parental leave and pay policies; and introduce paid neonatal care leave and paid carer’s leave. 

Strengthen / Weaken Worker rights and status 

 

Strengthen existing rights and protections, including for pregnant workers, whistle blowers, workers made redundant, workers subject to TUPE processes and those making grievances; reinstate School Support Staff Negotiating Body; and encourage employers to sign up to “Dying to Work” charter to support workers with a terminal illness. 

 

Remove current distinction between employees and workers so that all workers are afforded same basic rights and protections, eg sick pay, holiday pay, parental leave, protection against unfair dismissal, etc. 

 

Self-Employed / Contractors / Zero hours contracts 

 

Be given a right to a written contract 

 

Ban “one-sided” flexibility; anyone working regular hours for 12 weeks or more will gain right to a regular contract to reflect hours worked; and all workers to get reasonable notice of any change in shifts or working time, and recompense for cancelled shifts. 

Establish a new “dependent contractor” employment status in between employment and self-employment; and put burden of proof on the employer in tribunals in cases on status. 

 

Introduce right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months for zero-hours workers and agency workers, not to be unreasonably refused. 

Unfair dismissal / redundancy / fire and re-hire 

 

 

 

Employment Tribunals 

 

Improve information and consultation procedures by replacing statutory Code of Practice introduced by current Government with a stronger one; and adapt unfair dismissal and redundancy legislation to prevent workers being dismissed for not agreeing to a worse contract. 

 

Extend time limit for bringing employment tribunal claims to six months; simplify enforcement of equal pay; and establish a single enforcement body to enforce worker rights. 

Establish a Worker Protection Enforcement Authority responsible for enforcing minimum wage, tackling modern slavery and protecting agency workers. 

Equality and harassment 

 

Family Friendly and caring for others 

Make laws to clarify that the protected characteristic of “sex” means biological sex. 

Publication of ethnicity and disability pay gaps to be mandatory for firms with more than 250 staff. 

 

Require employers to create and maintain workplaces and working conditions free from harassment, including by third parties. 

 

Make parental leave a day-one right; introduce right to bereavement leave; make it unlawful to dismiss pregnant employees for six months after return from maternity leave except in specific circumstances. 

 

Review implementation of carer’s leave and examine benefits of introducing paid carer’s leave. 

Add ‘”caring” and “care experience” to protected characteristics; introduce Adjustment Passports to record adjustments and equipment a disabled person needs; provide support and advice to employers on neurodiversity; extend public sector use of name-blind recruitment and encourage its use in the private sector; raise employers’ awareness of Access to Work Scheme; and requirement for large businesses to monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps and progression, and publish five-year aspirational diversity targets. 

Foreign workers 

Introduce a legal cap on migration that will fall every year of Parliament, increase visa fees and require migrants to have health checks. 

 

Replace salary threshold scheme with a merit-based system for work visas; and exempt NHS and care staff from the £1000 a year immigration skills charge. 

Flexible working 

 

As above re making this a day 1 right 

Give everyone a right to flexible working and disabled workers the right to work from home if they want to unless there are significant business reasons where this is not possible. 

Pay 

Increase National Living Wage to around £13 per hour by the end of the next Parliament and continue to reduce National Insurance. 

Remove age bandings used in current system; reform role of the Low Pay Commission, including requiring it to take the cost of living into consideration when recommending rates; ensure travel time in sectors with multiple working sites is paid; act on “sleep over” hours in sectors like social care; create Fair Pay Agreements in adult social care; and ban unpaid internships except as part of education/training course. 

Introduce a care worker’s minimum wage of National Minimum Wage (NMW) + £2 per hour; remove apprentice rate; and increase NMW for zero-hours contracts to 20% higher at times of normal demand to compensate for the uncertainty of fluctuating hours of work. 

Tips 

Note existing tip proposals inflight  

Strengthen the law to ensure hospitality workers receive their tips in full and workers decide how tips are allocated. 

Understood to support Conservative tip legislation which pre-existed the election being called. 

Sick Pay and related processes 

Overhaul and streamline the fit note process. 

Strengthen Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), make it available for all workers and remove the waiting period. Rate to represent fair earnings replacement. 

Remove lower earnings limit and align rate with NMW; remove waiting days; and consult with small employers on government support for SSP costs. 

 

Trade Unions / employee representation in the workplace 

Re-instate stricter trade union laws removed in Wales. 

Strengthen trade union right of entry to workplaces; simplify process of union recognition; strengthen protections for trade union reps; and new duty on employers to inform workforce of right to join a union in their written contract. 

 

Wellbeing and mental health support 

 

Support wellbeing of workers and their long-term physical and mental health; and assess whether existing regulations and guidance are adequate to support and protect those experiencing the symptoms of Long Covid. 

 

Require large employers with more than 250 employees to produce Menopause Action Plans. 

 

Introduce a new right to disconnect and protect workers from remote surveillance. 

 

Source: 


For HR support or to discuss further please contact annette@hbhrs.co.uk or call 07748 713936

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