2017 General Election: Political Party Promises on Employment
2017 General Election: Political Party Promises on Employment

2017 General Election: Political Party Promises on Employment

I don’t know if you’ve heard but there’s another election coming!  We all know there can be a difference between manifesto promises and what is delivered post-election, but here’s a snapshot of what the big 3 parties are proposing for workers’ rights:

The Conservative Party

The Conservative party are promising what Theresa May describes as the biggest expansion of workers’ rights by any Conservative government. Its manifesto promises:

(1) to keep all workers’ rights currently guaranteed by EU law;

(2) a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative;

(3) statutory leave for parents whose child has died;

(4) new protections for people in the “gig economy”;

(5) a statutory right to training;

(6) measures to protect workers’ pensions in the wake of the BHS scandal;

(7) the national living wage for workers aged 25 and over, currently £7.50 an hour, would rise in line with average earnings until 2022; and

(8) listed companies will be required to have representation for workers on their boards – whether on advisory panels, as a non-executive director or through a directly appointed worker representative – although firms would not be forced to have actual employees in the boardroom.

The Labour Party

Labour have also put a lot of emphasis on workers’ rights and propose to put in place a 20-point plan which is described in their manifesto as being for ‘security and equality at work’. Here are some of their key policies:

(1) An end to zero-hours contracts;

(2) Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining, whereby industries can negotiate agreement as a whole;

(3) End the public sector pay cap;

(4) Scrapping employment tribunal fees:

(5) Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces;

(6) Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work;

(7) Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions; and

(8) Shifting the “burden of proof” in the so-called “gig economy” so that the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise

(9) Proposal for four new bank holidays to mark the national patron saints’ days.  These are proposed to be additional to statutory holiday entitlement.

The Liberal Democrat Party

Meanwhile, fathers would be entitled to a month’s paid leave under plans being announced by the Liberal Democrats, whose proposals include:

(1) A formal right to request a fixed contract;

(2) Scrapping employment tribunal fees;

(3) Giving staff in listed companies with more than 250 employees a right to request shares, to be held in trust for the benefit of employees;

(4) Requiring binding and public votes of board members on executive pay policies;

(5) Introducing pay gap reporting in relation to gender, race and sexual orientation;

(6) Introducing name-blind recruitment in the public sector;

(7) Making flexible working, paternity and shared parental leave “day one” rights;

(8) Moving to address the ‘abuse’ of zero hours contracts;

(9) Continuing the drive for boardroom diversity.

In Summary

2017 is shaping up to be another year of political upheaval leaving business owners struggling to keep up. Change doesn’t need to painful with the right helping hand from the PlusHR team especially with the importance of HR during uncertain times. Stay tuned to PlusHR, where we will keep you ahead of the how the general election may impact your business and workers’ rights. In the meantime learn how you can protect your EU workers from Brexit.

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Introducing the Author

This blog has been written by Simon Robinson, Employment Partner at gunnercooke llp – Shortlisted for “Law Firm of the Year” at the 2016 British Legal Awards.

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