Employee Relations, HR, HR Updates

What the General Election Means for Employment Law: A Business View

With the upcoming 2024 general election on July 4th, 2024, businesses across the UK are preparing for potential changes to employment law. The manifestos from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives have outlined various proposals that will affect employers. Understanding these changes is key to navigating the post-election landscape.

In this blog post, we will provide you with an overview of the manifestos and their proposed changes in employment law, covering employee rights and policies. From Labour’s plans to strengthen workers’ rights and extend protections from day one, to the Conservatives’ focus on deregulation and boosting the National Living Wage, and the Liberal Democrats’ proposals to modernise employment rights for gig economy workers, each party’s vision will bring different challenges and opportunities for employers. As leading HR providers in Essex, we are here to support you throughout this transition.

Proposed Changes Based on the Labour Party Manifesto

With the general election looming and the possibility of Labour securing victory, businesses must prepare for potentially sweeping changes in employment law. Here’s a detailed look at the proposed reforms based on the Labour Party manifesto, contingent upon them forming the next government.

Following the recent publication of the Labour Party manifesto ahead of the upcoming general election, significant changes to employment law are on the horizon. If Labour wins the election and forms the next government, these proposed reforms will likely reshape the landscape for employers across the UK.

Labour aims to revolutionise employment rights by granting protections such as unfair dismissal, sick pay, and parental leave from day one of employment. This shift would compel businesses to review and potentially revise their disciplinary procedures and bolster HR support to manage an anticipated rise in claims.

Under Labour’s plan, distinctions between ’employees’ and ‘workers’ would be eliminated, ensuring all individuals receive equivalent fundamental rights. This overhaul necessitates a comprehensive update of current policies and contracts to mitigate the risk of tribunal claims.

Labour proposes increasing the national minimum wage to £10 per hour for all workers and extending Statutory Sick Pay coverage. Should Labour win on election day, businesses would need to swiftly adapt their payroll systems to comply with these adjusted wage regulations to evade penalties.

Labour pledges enhanced safeguards for pregnant employees, whistleblowers, and those affected by redundancies or TUPE transfers. Employers must promptly revise their policies to align with these heightened protections if the election results in Labour forming a government.

Labour intends to mandate ethnicity pay gap reporting for firms employing over 250 staff, necessitating proactive measures from businesses to prepare for increased reporting requirements.

Labour plans stringent measures to combat sexual harassment, including mandatory workplace training and policy enforcement, demanding proactive efforts from employers to foster safer work environments. Is this something you are already doing to support your employees at work?

Labour proposes granting employees the right to flexible working from day one, prompting businesses to invest in robust scheduling tools to effectively manage flexible working arrangements.

Labour seeks to expand parental leave entitlements (Maternity and Paternity Leave), revaluate shared parental leave policies, and introduce paid family and carer’s leave, compelling businesses to update their policies to accommodate these changes.

Labour proposes granting regular contracts to zero-hour contract workers after 12 weeks of consistent work, necessitating meticulous planning of work schedules to mitigate legal risks.

Labour aims to restrict ‘fire and rehire’ practices by mandating justification for such actions, underscoring the importance of expert guidance for employers navigating these potential reforms.

This seeks to protect employees from unilateral changes to their terms of employment and ensure that any such measures are implemented only when absolutely necessary, with clear and fair reasoning provided by employers. Businesses will need to carefully review their restructuring strategies and consult legal experts to navigate these upcoming regulations effectively.

Labour emphasises support for neurodiverse employees and better management of workplace stress and mental health issues, recommending the implementation of employee assistance programs to comply with these forthcoming regulations.

Labour plans to introduce a ‘right to disconnect’ to safeguard employees from out-of-hours work communications, prompting employers to update their policies accordingly to minimise legal exposure.

Labour plans to introduce a ‘right to disconnect’ to safeguard employees from out-of-hours work communications, prompting employers to update their policies accordingly to minimise legal exposure.

Conservative Party Changes in Employment Law

In response to the Conservative Party’s manifesto ahead of the upcoming general election, significant changes to employment laws could unfold if they secure victory. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has outlined key proposals aimed at reshaping the landscape for employers across the UK:

The Conservatives propose increasing the National Living Wage to approximately £13 per hour, necessitating updates to payroll systems by businesses nationwide. Additionally, they plan to overhaul the fit note process, emphasising return-to-work strategies that will likely introduce stricter rules on employee absence management.

Further initiatives include reducing National Insurance contributions for working individuals, including the abolition of the main rate for self-employed workers, impacting payroll administration. The party also aims to boost apprenticeships by creating an additional 100,000 opportunities annually, prompting businesses to integrate apprenticeship schemes into their workforce planning strategies.

On the legal front, the Conservatives intend to redefine ‘sex’ under the Equality Act to ‘biological sex,’ prompting employers to revise their equality and diversity policies accordingly. They also propose maintaining the current two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims and the three-month window for employment tribunal claims, potentially reintroducing tribunal fees.

Moreover, the Conservatives plan to cap non-compete clauses to enhance employee mobility and restrict TUPE transfers to employees only, necessitating businesses to review and clarify employee statuses during such transitions. These proposals reflect the Conservative Party’s vision for employment law reform pending the outcome of the general election, as announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Liberal Democrat Proposals

With the upcoming General Election drawing near, the Liberal Democrat manifesto outlines significant changes to employment law that could shape the landscape for businesses across the UK. If successful at the polls, the Liberal Democrats intend to introduce the following reforms:

Expanding Family-Friendly Rights: The Liberal Democrats propose extending parental leave, introducing paid neonatal care leave, and enhancing carer’s leave entitlements. Businesses will need to review and update their leave policies to comply with these new regulations.

Late Payments: In an effort to tackle late payments, the Liberal Democrats plan to enforce prompt payment codes for large businesses and government contractors. This initiative aims to streamline payment processes and ensure timely remuneration for businesses.

Gig Economy Rights: The Liberal Democrats aim to establish a new employment status termed ‘dependent contractor’ with basic rights, addressing concerns within the gig economy. Employers will need to adjust to new classifications and the associated rights for workers.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): Under their proposals, the Liberal Democrats will make SSP available from day one of absence and link it to the National Minimum Wage. Small businesses may receive support to manage these additional costs effectively.

These proposed changes reflect the Liberal Democrats’ agenda for reforming employment laws, contingent upon the outcome of Polling Day and subsequent Parliamentary decisions.

Get Ready for Upcoming Changes in Employment Law

As the election looms, it’s important to stay up to date with these changes. At Park City Consulting we offer expert HR support to help you through the changing employment landscape.

Need help with big changes in employment law? Our HR team will keep you compliant and risk-free whatever the changes. Our 24/7 helpline is open to you whenever you need us.

Call Park City Consulting now: 01206 752100. Not a Park City Consulting client? Find out more about how we can support your business here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The upcoming general election on July 4th, 2024, will have implications for businesses across the UK. Depending on the outcome, changes in employment law, such as modifications to employment contracts, rights of trade unions, and policies affecting business transfers, could be introduced.

A new government or potential minority government resulting from the elections may also impact economic policies and regulatory frameworks that affect employers and their operations. It’s crucial for businesses to stay informed and prepared for potential shifts that could arise following polling day and the formation of the new parliament.

The general election on July 4th, 2024, could significantly impact employment law in the UK. Depending on the policies and promises put forward by political parties competing for votes, changes may include reforms to employment contracts, adjustments to data protection laws affecting employee privacy, and amendments to workplace rights and protections.

The election outcome will determine which party forms the government and subsequently influences the legislative agenda, potentially introducing new laws that employers and employees alike will need to navigate in their respective constituencies. Remember, you don’t have to face these changes alone—Park City is here to support you when you need it most.

The UK 2024 General Election is scheduled to take place on July 4th, 2024. In this election, eligible voters across the country will have the opportunity to cast their ballots to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons.

To participate, individuals must be registered to vote and meet the eligibility criteria, which include being a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen residing in the UK, or an Irish citizen living in the UK. Voters can choose to vote in person at designated polling stations, by postal vote (where they receive their ballot papers by mail and return them before election day), or by proxy vote (where someone else votes on their behalf at the polling station).

The political party that receives the most votes in each constituency will win that seat in Parliament.

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