With the election finally over, we have a quick look at the Labour party manifesto and how they intend to change employment law (or not, as the case may be).

Labour Manifesto

During the election Labour promised an Employment Bill in the first 100 days. Of course, a bill does not mean it becomes law. These things generally take longer and can be amended by the passage through parliament, be dropped after consultation or run up against opposition in the Lords.

Predicting exactly what changes will happen is not therefore an exact science. However, here is a list of some of the main changes that are proposed (whether in the first 100 days, or part of Labour’s plans for the next few years):

· Removing unfair dismissal service criteria from 2 years to a day one right, possibly subject to more robust probationary periods where employers can dismiss more easily;

· Strengthening the enforcement of Tribunal awards and looking at potential liability of Directors for awards, although it is not known how far this will go or what it means;

· Extending employment rights to ‘workers’ so that workers effectively have the same employment rights as the main protected category of ‘employees’;

· The proposed ending of “fire and re-hire”;

· Introducing a new active duty to prevent third party harassment on employers;

· Increasing the time in which Tribunal claims can be brought from the present usual deadline of 3 months (but no detail yet on the extension);

· Introducing consultation for employers and employees to create workplace policies for a right to ‘switch off’ from work;

· Increasing their union rights in the workplace, in a number of different ways;

· Lifting the compensation cap for unfair dismissal;

· Mirroring Gender Pay Gap Reporting with ethnic groups and disabilities;

· Introducing a new concept of ‘dual discrimination’;

· Introducing rights for equal pay claims for BAME and disabled employees;

· Banning (or at least further regulating) zero-hour contracts;

· Introducing a need for large employers to have a menopause policy;

· Increasing National Minimum Wage and abolishing age bands that discriminate against younger adults.

Comment

With Kier Starmer as Prime Minister on July 5th, it looks like it is going to be a very busy time in employment law over the coming years so businesses will need to plan and inevitably the administrative burden will increase.

The major worry from a legal perspective is that several of the above proposals combined are likely to put extra pressure on the already creaking Employment Tribunal system so, without a massive increase in funding for the Courts and Tribunals, delays in litigation are likely to increase. Substantial delays almost always inevitably lead to poorer justice.

We will of course keep you updated on things as they develop. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI Legal advice line, as well as several industry experts for your assistance. Please contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.

 

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