Championing
Wellbeing

4 July 2024 General Election: Key proposed changes to employment law

Employment Law

With the general election fast approaching, we thought it would be helpful to summarise some of the proposed changes to employment law for the following parties if they were to be elected: Labour, Conservative, Reform, Liberal Democrats, Green, Plaid Cumbri, Scottish National Party and Socialist Party.

Labour

Labour have said they will implement most of the changes (we don’t know which ones yet) within 100 days. Let’s look at what have proposed changes suggested:

  • Banning zero hours contracts (if they are “exploitative”).
  • Putting an end to fire and rehire.
  • Introducing a day one right for sick pay, parental leave
  • Removing the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal making this a day one right subject to probationary periods.
  • Setting up a single enforcement body to enforce workers’ rights (outside of the employment tribunal).
  • National minimum wage will be considered based on the cost of living and the age bands will be removed.
  • A “Fair Play Agreement” will be created to allow for sectoral collective bargaining in the adult social care sector.
  • A right for employees to have a contract which more accurately reflects their regular hours based on a 12-week period.
  • An extension to the time limits for bringing Employment Tribunal claims from three months to six months for all claims.
  • Mandating employers with over 250 staff to have a menopause action plan.
  • “Large” employers will have to prepare reports on the pay gap for ethnicity and disability.
  • Collective redundancies will have to be based on the number of redundancies across an entire business rather than the amount at each establishment.
  • Employment contracts (section 1 statement) will have to inform individuals of their right to join a Trade Union.
  • A new “right to switch off” – presumably like France’s right to disconnect after work.
  • Reducing the current three statuses of worker, employee and independent contractor to just two for those who employed and genuinely self-employed, in an attempt to simply the current legal tests.
  • Ensuring that flexible working is a right unless a “good reason” is given to refuse it.
  • Reversal of the changes made under the Trade Union Act 2016.
  • Removal of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023.
  • Removing the need to have fully postal ballots for industrial action.
  • Giving Trade Unions the right to access workplaces for recruitment and organising.
  • A right to unpaid bereavement leave (in addition to the current right upon the death of a child).

Conservative

  • Updates to the Equality Act 2010 so that protection on the basis of a person’s sex apply only to their biological sex.
  • Fit notes will no longer be provided by GPs, but other “healthcare professionals”.
  • Continue to proceed with the minimum service level agreements for strikes.
  • Cut employees national insurance down to 6% from 2027.
  • Remove national insurance for self-employed people before the end of the next parliament.

Reform

  • A plan to abolish IR35 rules to support sole traders.
  • Remove all EU Regulations including British Laws relating to employment that have derived from EU Regulations.
  • Removing employment laws (yet to be identified) that “hold back British businesses and damage productivity, including employment laws that make it riskier to hire people”.
  • Plans to replace the Equality Act and scrap diversity, equality and inclusion rules.

Liberal Democrats

  • A new employment status called “dependant contractor” which will sit somewhere between employee and self-employed (different to a worker). They will be entitled to minimum earnings, sick pay and holiday entitlement.
  • An increase to national minimum wage by 20% for those on zero hours contracts.
  • A change to the burden of proof in status-related claims so that the burden is on the employer to disprove employment status.
  • Having statutory sick pay rights from day one and removing the lower earnings limit.
  • Extend the name-blind process in recruitment.
  • Ensure that parental leave is a day one right.
  • Increasing statutory maternity pay and statutory paternity pay to £350 per week.
  • A new “use it or lose it” month for new fathers or partners which would be paid at 90% of salary.
  • Introduction of a new protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 for “caring” and “care experience”.
  • A mandatory publishment of data on gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBT+, including pay, progression and five-year aspirational diversity targets.
  • Introduction of specialist disability employment support.
  • Reforms to the Access to Work scheme.
  • Introduction of “Adjustment Passports” to keep a record of reasonable adjustments made for people with disabilities. In addition, equipment provided by Access to Work should stay with the person if they get a new job.

Green

  • Repeal of current anti-union legislation and its replacement with a positive Charter of Workers’ Rights, with the right to strike at its heart along with a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions.
  • A maximum 10:1 pay ratio for all private- and public-sector organisations.
  • An increase in the minimum wage to £15 an hour, no matter your age, with the costs to small businesses offset by reducing their National Insurance payments.
  • Equal employment rights for all workers from their first day of employment, including those working in the ‘gig economy’ and on zero-hours contracts. Gig employers that repeatedly break employment, data protection or tax law will be denied licences to operate.
  • A move to a four-day working week.

Plaid Cymru

  • Reversal of anti-strike legislation.
  • Supporting legislation to tackle insecure work.
  • Introduce paid bereavement and miscarriage leave as day one employment rights.
  • Abolish fire and rehire.
  • Abolish compulsory zero-hours contracts.
  • Establish a “right to disconnect” and not be contacted outside normal working hours (we suspect similar to what labour are suggesting).
  • Reforms to Shared Parental Leave.
  • Changing the Carers Leave Act 2023 so that the right to five days unpaid leave for the provision of care would be paid.

Scottish National Party

  • Increase maternity leave to one year paid at 100% of average weekly earnings for 12 weeks and then at the lower of either 90% of earnings or £185 per week for the remaining 40 weeks.
  • Increase Shared Parental Leave from 52 to 64 weeks with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum to be taken by the father on a “use it or lose it” basis.
  • Removal of exploitative zero hours contracts.
  • Ban fire and rehire practices.
  • Repeal the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 and the Trade Union Act 2016.
  • Take action to close the gender pay gap.
  • Increase national minimum wage to at least the level of national living wage and increase this in line with inflation.
  • End age discrimination of pay levels.
  • Amend the definition of worker to strengthen protections.
  • Remove the sick pay threshold to ensure lower paid workers have access to statutory sick pay. As well as the four-day waiting period to allow those who need financial support through illness to access it sooner.

Socialist Party

  • Repeal the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act and the Trade Union Act 2016, and other “conservative anti-union laws”.
  • Introduce a real inflation-proof pay rise for workers that protects living standards.
  • £15 an hour minimum wage with no age exemptions.
  • Repeal of fire and rehire and zero hours contracts.
  • Workers’ rights from day one of employment.

We will be working hard to understand the timescales and impact for any changes once the election is over and will be announcing this through our emails. We will be updating our clients on a personal level but if you would like to sign up for our email updates or have any questions, please email enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk.

Disclaimer: we do not endorse any political party, and this is for information purposes only.

Contact Us

Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
Fill out this field

Book a Free Consultation

Our Awards and Recognition

Verified by MonsterInsights