As the General Election on 8th June 2017 grows even closer, the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have now published their manifestos.
The Conservatives have promised to maintain existing rights post-Brexit, to continue the Taylor review into employment status, and to introduce some new rights. These include a right to request unpaid time off for training for all employees, a right to unpaid time off to care for sick relatives, child bereavement leave, and new support for those returning to work after family leave. They also promise to extend discrimination protection for those with mental health problems, and take further action to address the gender pay gap and ethnicity pay gap. Theresa May has described her programme as the “greatest expansion in workers’ rights by any Conservative government in history”.
The Labour party has proposed a comprehensive reform of employment law including abolishing tribunal fees, making all existing employment rights “day one” rights and extending them to workers, increasing the length of maternity and paternity pay, and introducing statutory bereavement leave. They would ban zero hours contracts, create a Ministry of Labour to ensure all employment rights are enforced, and give unions new rights in the workplace. The manifesto also sets out various improvements to equality law including new ethnicity pay gap reporting, and an independent body to ensure compliance with pay gap reporting obligations. All existing EU law rights would be preserved following Brexit.
The Liberal Democrats are selling themselves as an alternative, more effective opposition, especially on issues surrounding Brexit. They would argue to keep the UK in the Single Market, preserving freedom of movement within the EU. Their other manifesto promises include introducing pay gap reporting in relation to gender, race and sexual orientation, introducing name-blind recruitment in the public sector, continuing the drive for boardroom diversity, and addressing the abuse of zero hours contracts. They would make flexible working, paternity and shared parental leave “day one” rights, create an additional month’s leave for fathers, and extend free childcare places. They would also abolish tribunal fees.
The forthcoming weeks and months will inevitably prove a very interesting time for employment law and HR. Employers and HR personnel will need to closely consider the above and the impact on their business and be prepared.
Farleys Solicitors LLP specialise in commercial employment law & HR for businesses. Advice and support includes employment status, contracts of employment, staff handbooks, directors service agreements, apprentices, equal pay, recruitment, restructures, disciplinaries, grievances, employee exits, settlement agreements; and Employment Tribunal defence and representation.
If you require any assistance with any of the above please contact Farleys Employment Law & HR team on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form.