Following the recent general election win, the Labour Government propose a number of changes in employment law which employers must be aware of to remain compliant.

Labour employment law changes: what are the Labour Government proposing?

The Labour manifesto of delivering a New Deal for Working People intends to introduce over 60 updated employment legislation pledges within the first 100 days. Whilst the pledges may come as a surprise to some employers, let’s dive into some of what you can expect to see if the proposed employment law changes are passed through parliament.

Implement more day-one rights for employees

  • Make it a day one right to bring forward an unfair dismissal claim at an employment tribunal. This means that the current qualifying period of 2 year’s service for an unfair dismissal claim will be removed.
  • Remove the qualifying period for statutory sick pay, meaning that it will be a day one right. Currently statutory sick pay is available on the 4th day of sickness, after a qualifying period of 3 days.
  • Make flexible working available from day one for all workers, except where it is not reasonably practical. Currently it is a day one right to for employees to submit a flexible working request.
  • Introduce parental leave as a day one right of employment. Currently this is available after one year’s continuous service with an employer.

Contracts of Employment

  • In Labour’s plan to make work pay new deal, they are committed to ‘securonomics.’ This means that ‘fire and rehire’ and zero hour contracts that are deemed to be  exploitative in nature are to be removed.
  • The removal of zero hour contracts will be based on a twelve-week reference period to provide security to workers.
  • Introduce a single status of worker meaning that more statutory rights and protections will be available including holiday pay, parental leave, sick pay etc.
  • Self-employed will be entitled to a written contract.
  • Rights will be strengthened for redundancy, TUPE, whistleblowing and trade unions.
  • Right to switch off and right to disconnect is to be introduced to promote work-life balance.
  • Menopause Action Plans will be a requirement for organisations of over 250 employees to provide support to employees.

Family friendly rights

  • Review a number of family-friendly rights, including the right to bereavement leave.
  • As mentioned, flexible working will be available from day one.
  • Maternity discrimination legislation will be strengthened, meaning pregnant employees cannot be dismissed following six months after return to work.
  • Potential implementation of introducing paid carer’s leave.

Fair Pay

  • Eliminate the bands for national minimum wage with a focus on ensuring that the cost of living is taken into account.
  • Ensure that certain unpaid internships are banned, with the exception being if it is part of an educational course.
  • Statutory sick pay will be available to all with the removal of the lower earnings limit in addition to the removal of the waiting period.
  • Travel time to be paid between multiple sites.
  • Ensure that workers can decide how tips are distributed evenly within the hospitality industry.
  • Creation of Fair Pay Agreements in adult social care sector.
  • Ethnicity and disability pay gap reports will be mandatory for businesses of over a 250 staff headcount.

Employment Tribunals

  • As mentioned, the right to make an unfair dismissal claim will be a day one right.
  • Increase the length of time for an employee to make an employment tribunal claim from 3 months to 6 months.
  • Enable the right to raise collective grievances about the workplace.
  • Further protection for trade union representatives.
  • Workplaces must be free from third party harassment.
  • And more.

When will the updated Labour employment law changes take place?

It’s anticipated that the date for the diary will be around the 25th October 2024 for new laws to be introduced to Parliament following Labours win at the General Election on the 4th July and Parliament opening on the 17th July.

What does this mean for employers?

Once the proposed employment law changes are passed and become legislation, it’s recommended that to remain compliant:

  • A complete and full review of contract of employments take place in line with the updates in statutory rights and protections.
  • Company handbooks, policies and procedures will require updating and distributing to employees and across HR systems.
  • Training will need to be provided to line managers to understand the new employee rights.

Watch this space as the next 100 days are certainly set to be an interesting time.

If you require support with navigating the updates in employment law, take the first step towards better HR for your business by getting in touch with Norton Loxley today.

At Norton Loxley, we help business leaders accelerate growth to achieve their ambitions through our HR solutions of outsourced HR, HR consultancy, recruitment and more.