Employment Law and the Election

The general election has been announced for July 4th and depending on which party is elected to form the next government, the landscape of employment law and workers’ rights could change.
As employers in the travel industry, it is important to understand what changes the main political parties propose to make, specifically to employment law in the UK. The purpose of this article is to set out just that (as far as we can at this stage) based on the election campaigns – not to advance one parties proposals over another.

What changes would Labour winning the 2024 general election make to UK Employment Law?

Labour winning the general election in 2024 would likely result in more extensive protection for workers’ rights in the United Kingdom, providing that Labour manage to implement all, or most, of the plans as laid out on their website;

    • Employee’s rights would expand, as all in the workforce would be defined as workers instead of either an employee or a worker. Currently, employees have more extensive rights, like statutory sick pay, statutory maternity and paternity pay, right to not be unfairly dismissed, etc. If the proposals were implemented, all workers would be entitled to these rights.
    • Claims for unfair dismissal would be a day one right available to workers, rather than the current law (where employees must work for 2 years before being entitled to claim unfair dismissal).
    • A large part of Labour’s employment law proposal covers increased wages to combat the current cost-of-living crisis.  The National Minimum Wage would be increased with every worker, aged 18 or over, being entitled to the National Living Wage. Currently, 18 year-olds are entitled to nearly £3 less than 21+ year olds, so this gap would be reduced/removed. This would obviously impact the cost of wages for businesses, if their workforce contains the age group.
    • Labour also propose to support businesses to strengthen jobs whilst working with workers to negotiate a higher pay with Fair Pay Agreements that establish a minimum standardized T&Cs.
    • Further, they aim to make flexible working a right to all workers where it is possible and reasonable. Currently employees can only make a request to work flexibly0 as opposed to work flexibly.
    • Introducing a “right to disconnect” from work for workers, following other European countries.
    • Banning the practice of “fire and rehire”.
    • Increasing the time limit to bring Employment Tribunal Claims to six months, currently the time limit is three months for most types of claims.
    • Expanding the gender pay reporting requirements to also cover disability and ethnic pay gaps. In addition extending the right to claim equal pay to black, Asian, ethnic minority and disabled employees.

What would the Conservatives do if they remain in power?
There is little comment from the Conservative party and their proposals surrounding employment at this juncture, although any proposals are likely to compliment the aim of “smarter regulation to grow the economy” that the aim will be deregulatory.
This might look like;

      • A re introduction of Employment Tribunal Fees.
      • Possible cap on non-compete clauses.
      • Reforms to TUPE to simplify.
      • Abolition of European Works Councils.
      • Enhanced Paternity Leave to fathers whose partner dies in childbirth.
      • Redefine “sex” under the Equality Act to mean “biological sex”.
      • Getting people with health conditions back to work is a priority for the current government, so backing up recent proposals regarding changes to disability benefits could feature among the Conservative party’s election pledges

We’ll be able to examine the parties’ intentions once they release their Manifesto. We will bring more details of what they’re proposing as they emerge.

For help and advice on employment issues within the travel industry, contact ami@travlaw.co.uk
or call 0113 258 0033