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Here we break down the manifesto pledges made by the now elected Labour Government and the key changes that are incoming in relation to employment law.

We will be summarising the key changes and the appointed Government’s commitments and hosting a webinar to talk through this impact in more detail. Book your place.

Join us on 18 July at 09:00 to find out this Labour government’s plans for employment law.

Should you have any questions in the meantime, please do contact a member of the Employment team.

Zero hours contracts
  • Labour plan to ban ‘exploitative’ zero-hours contracts.
  • They will introduce a right for workers to have a contract that reflects the number of hours they regularly work, based on a 12-week reference period. They also propose giving workers a right to reasonable notice of any change in shifts or working time, meaning that compensation will be paid if a shift is cancelled which will be proportionate to the notice given.
  • Labour claim it will not stop employees earning overtime and employers will still be able to  hire on fixed-term contracts including seasonal work.
  • For surges during seasonal periods, for example Christmas, employers could manage staffing either by offering overtime to regular employees or hiring temps.
Pay

What are the proposed changes to employee pay?

  • Labour propose making minimum wage the same for all adults, removing the 18-20 age bracket.
  • There would be more improvement by considering the increased cost of living.
  • Commitment to the new Tips Acts which is coming into force this October, ensuring hospitality sector worker all get an even share of gratuity. This will affect the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors predominantly.
  • Ban on unpaid internships, save for where it is part of an education or training course.
Family Friendly Rights

Will there be any change to the new family rights?

  • Bereavement Leave- this would become a statutory entitlement for all workers.
  • Would look at making the new one week carer’s leave entitlement, which came into force in April 2024, a paid entitlement for employees.
  • Parental leave would become a day one right.
  • In line with the new extended protection against redundancy for pregnant employees and those on maternity, Labour would ban the dismissal of those returning from maternity leave for 6 months. This would be except for specific circumstances.

Are there any proposed changes to protect whistle-blowers?

  • Employees who report sexual harassment will be automatically counted as whistle blowers.
Employee rights on dismissal, new terms, redundancy and TUPE
  • The introduction of restrictions on the practice of ‘fire and re-hire’. Such practice would only be permitted as part of a business structure.
  • Unfair dismissal to be a day one right.
  • Further rights for workers which have been transferred under TUPE.
  • Introduction of a requirement to collectively consult were redundancies have reached a threshold across the whole business. It would no longer look at numbers within an individual workplace.
Work life balance
  • Making flexible working a day-one right, other than in situations where there is a good reason for the employer to refuse.
  • Introducing a right to switch off, or “disconnect” to ensure that working from home does not mean a home becomes a 24/7 office.
Employment Status
  • The introduction of one status of worker. The current system is expected to be abolished, but there is no clarity as to how the differing rights would apply.
  • Further security for self employed workers, with the introduction of a right to a written contract.
Equal Pay
  • For employers with over 250 employees, Labour intends to make ethnicity pay gap reporting compulsory. Labour also intend to extend this obligation to the pay reporting of employees with disabilities.
  • Labour also pledge to tackle the gender pay gap by including in the reporting duties data pertaining to outsourced workers to ensure, in their words, “that outsourcing of services can no longer be used by employers to avoid paying equal pay”
Equality Act 2010 / Diversity
  • The protections against employees claiming sexual harassment are to be extended placing a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to stop sexual harassment, including the actions of third parties and/or customers.
  • Those claiming sexual harassment will receive whistle-blower protection in that in event of dismissal they will be able to apply to protect their salary through interim relief.
Employee Strikes and Union Rights
  • The introduction of a Fair Pay Agreement in the adult social care sector.
  • Providing union representatives with stronger protection in relation to threats, harassment and intimidation, as well as against dismissal
  • Requirement of employers to notify employees regularly of their right to join a trade union.
  • Repealing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 and the Trade Union Act 2016
  • The ability for trade unions to access workplaces on appropriate notice, which also includes digital access
  • The introduction of a collective grievance process, although there are no details on how this would work in practice
  • Confirming the position in relation to agency workers not being able to cover striking workers, by repealing the current regulations.
Sickness / Sick Pay
  • Require employers with more than 250 employees to establish Menopause Action Plans in relation to how individuals experiencing the menopause will be supported.
  • The lower earnings limit will be removed in order to make statutory sick pay available to all workers, as well as removing the waiting period so that sick pay is available on day one as opposed to day four.
  • Provide more support to terminally ill employers by encouraging employers and trade unions to sign up to the Dying To Work Charter.
  • Modernise health and safety guidance which relates to extreme temperatures.
Changes to Apprenticeships
  • Youth Guarantee providing training opportunities, work or an apprenticeship for those aged 18-21.
  • Changes to the apprenticeship levy through the introduction of a “growth and skills levy”. Employers will be able to use the money to train apprentices.
Tribunals
  • Extend the time limit within which to bring a claim to the tribunal from three to six months.
  • Introducing a single state enforcement body to enforce workers’ rights to help with the backlog currently facing the tribunal system.
New Technologies
  • Better and stronger regulation of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Consultation with workers prior to the introduction of any surveillance technologies.
Timings

Is 100 days too ambitious?

Labour pledge to introduce legislation within the first 100 days of entering government, which would mean by 12 October 2024.

There is the well-established policy of only implementing employment law changes in October and April rather than spread across the year and so if Labour do keep to this precedent it will likely mean we won’t see changes until next Spring. Additionally, many changes may require codes of practice or substantial secondary legislation before being enacted and this means many more months of drafting and consultation.

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