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Proposals in the 3 main political party manifestos

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The general election takes place this Thursday. Depending on who wins, it could lead to a few big repercussions for employers. Below is a summary the main employment law content of the three main political parties' manifestos. I have made a few comments about some of the bigger potential effects of some promises but they serve only as my opinion and not intended to sway you either way!


1.       Labour’s manifesto slogan of ‘For the Many, Not the Few’ is reflected in its 20-point plan on workers’ rights. Corbyn has pledged to replace the Great Repeal Bill with the EU Rights and Protections Bill, safeguarding workers’ rights derived from the EU. A few key points are:

  • Abolish tribunal fees – a potential negative for employers for obvious reasons – the number of claims would no doubt increase
  • Make all employment rights active from ‘day one’, and extend them to workers
  • Abolish zero-hours contracts, suggesting all employees must be given at least some guaranteed work each week – for the usual sectors that use workers in this way e.g. retail, tourism, agriculture etc this could be a game changer and their modus operandi could have to change
  • Legislate to ensure all employers recruiting workers from abroad do not undercut British workers
  • Repeal of the Trade Union Act
  • A living wage for all of at least £10 by 2020 for all workers aged over 18 – a biggie, cost wise
  • No more unpaid internships
  • Double the amount of paid paternity leave
  • Gender pay auditing compliance
  • Right to trade union representation for all workers
  • 4 new public holidays to mark all four national patron saints' days, additional to statutory holiday entitlement – this could be problematic for obvious reasons e.g. cost, lost production etc


2.       The Lib Dems seek to ‘Change Britain’s Future’ to achieve a sustainable economy by introducing the following key policies:

  • Abolish tribunal fees – their main big change would have implications as stated above
  • Extend the Equality Act to all large companies of 250 or more employees and require them to introduce pay gap reporting in relation to gender, race and sexual orientation
  • Enforce name-blind recruitment in the public sector
  • Tackle the abuse of zero-hours contracts
  • Make the right to flexible working, paternity and shared parental leave rights from day one of employment – this could be very costly
  • Additional month’s paternity leave for fathers


3.       The Tories launched their ‘Forward Together’ manifesto, and there were no huge surprises there either. May wants to reflect the changing economy by implementing the following key policies:

  • Executive pay packages subject to annual shareholder votes
  • National living wage would continue to increase to 60% of median earnings by 2020 (around £8.75)
  • Continue to extend pensions auto-enrolment to small employers and make it available for the self-employed
  • The right to request unpaid time off to care for sick relatives – with our ageing population the number of requests could increase and be costly
  • People working in the gig-economy will be protected – although it does not say how this will be achieved or what those protections are
  • Workers’ rights conferred on British citizens from our membership of the EU will remain


Prior to dissolution, the Government’s White Paper on Brexit promised that employment law would remain untouched – although it was far less clear about how the courts would go about interpreting laws e.g. the Working Time Regulations – that were introduced to implement EU directives.


So, these are the main employment law changes and proposals that you may wish to know about as an employer before making up your mind up about who to vote for.

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