General Election 2015:
Employment Law Plans In The Major Party Manifestos
No matter what the outcome of next week’s General Election, the affect on employment law could be massive.
It’s vital for all UK workers to understand the agendas on display, and as such we have explored each major party’s manifesto and detailed the key points relating to areas of employment law.
These policies will affect your life more than you realise.
The Conservative Manifesto
The Tory Party has expressed a desire to prevent exclusivity clauses from being attached to Zero-Hour contracts, and they intend to increase the minimum wage to £7 an hour in the near future, with the goal of increasing the sum to at least £8 by the year 2020.
The Tories also controversially plan to restrict the employee right to strike by allowing for strike action only in circumstances where at least half of the employees available to participate agree to backing such a course of action.
The Conservatives also intend to abolish employers’ right to hire agency staff to cover absent employees during striking periods.
An interesting point of the Conservative agenda is the plan to force employers with more than 250 staff to reveal the difference in pay rates between male and female employees.
In regards to international law, the conservatives plan to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998, and establish a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which will make judgements made by the European Court of Human Rights of advisory influence only, and therefore unable to directly affect UK Supreme Court rulings.
The Labour Manifesto
Like the Tories, Labour states it will increase Minimum Wage to £8 per hour, with October 2019 being their specified deadline. Employers using zero-hours contracts will also face changes, including having to grant workers who have been employed for 12 weeks or more the right to request a fixed hours contract like those held by their full time colleagues.
Exclusivity provision laws will also be abolished, and employers will be obliged to provide workers with compensation should planned working shifts be called off at short notice.
Labour has also promised to remove the fees of the current Employment Tribunal system that calls for claimants to pay the Tribunal costs, regardless of the outcome of their case.
The exact nature of a replacement Tribunal system introduced by Labour is not entirely clear, but the fees involved in making will certainly be reduced.
Labour has also announced that it will fully investigate the ongoing unfair blacklisting of workers within the construction sector; a serious problem affecting the industry.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrat goal is to build upon flexible working scenarios. The sharing of paternity leave between parents/guardians is high on the agenda, as are paternity rights, which the Liberals believe should be granted to employees once they take on any form of employment.
Like the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats will enforce a law citing that all employers with at least 250 employees working under them must reveal information regarding the pay differences between their male and female employees.
The Liberal Democrat attitude towards zero-hours contracts is similar to that of Labour, as they plan for workers to have the right to request contracts equal to permanent employees after a certain employment period has passed. Plans to pay a greater wage to 16-17 year olds in full-time employment is also on the agenda.
One intriguing area of Liberal Democrat doctrine is their intention to curtail employers from erroneously naming employees as self-employed when this description isn’t actually relevant to the position held.
The Liberals also want to merge the Working Time Directive Section of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) with the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate and the Gangmaster Licensing Authority to create a proposed alliance known as the “Workers’ Rights Agency”.
UK Independence Party
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that UKIP proposes the most significant changes to UK employment law, namely through Britain leaving the European Union. Such a move would change areas of employment law immeasurably, including cases of unlawful discrimination, employee holiday rights, and all the laws regulated under The Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE).
A major part of the UKIP manifesto is for UK employers to hire British workers ahead of other nationalities. Equally significant is UKIP’s plan to withdraw Britain from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, and revoke the current Human Rights Act in favour of a new British Bill of Rights.
UKIP also hopes to give agency workers with twelve or more weeks of employment at their job the same benefits as their non-agency colleagues. UKIP also also seeks to regulate rather than ban zero-hours contracts.
The Green Party
The Green Party manifesto includes plans to increase Minimum Wage as high as £10 per hour by 2020, as well as an outright ban on zero-hours contracts, which the party deems exploitive.
The Greens also want to put an end to banker bonuses, reduce pay margins between employees at higher and lower levels of employment, and protect the wages of professionals in the healthcare and education sectors.
Whatever the outcome of the General Election, be sure to consult expert UK employment law solicitors for assistance in any dispute you have, as they will always adapt to any employment law changes that occur.