The General Election will take place on 12 December and with the campaign in full swing the major UK parties have announced their manifestos. Whilst the major issues in the campaign thus far have been around Brexit, the NHS and national infrastructure, all the parties have made various pledges when it comes to the world of employment law.
In a series of blogs, we'll take a look at what each of the major UK parties have promised to deliver in their manifesto in relation to employment law.
This is our fourth and last blog, focusing on the Conservative manifesto and analysing the manifestos across the board.
Please see our first blog where we look at the Brexit Party, Green Party and the Scottish National Party; our second blog, looking at the Liberal Democrat manifesto; and our third blog looking at the Labour manifesto.
The Conservatives were the last of the UK-wide parties to announce their manifesto. Whilst as the incumbent government, their proposals are naturally less extensive, they have also announced plans that would see some potentially significant changes to employment law including:
- Scrapping Employer's National Insurance contributions for Under 21's and for Apprentices under 25
- Additional funding to assist disabled people obtain and stay in employmentCreation of a single enforcement body and crackdown on any employer abusing employment law.
- Ensuring workers have the right to request a more predictable contract and other reasonable protections.
- A consultation on flexible working making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.
- Proposal to reform redundancy law so companies cannot discriminate against women immediately after returning from maternity leave.
- Legislation to allow parents to take extended leave for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it and plans to make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave.
- Extension to the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers to a week
Several of the proposals in the manifesto were already proposed through the Taylor Review and Good Work Plan as has been the case with other parties, with the creation of a new enforcement body and a right to request a predictable contract being prime examples. Increased protection from redundancy for those on maternity leave has also been mooted during Theresa May's premiership, so this was potentially already in the pipeline.
In terms of new policies, there would be extension of leave entitlement for carers and increased access to request flexible working under this manifesto. Additionally, extended leave for neo natal care would see the creation of a new type of leave for those affected. Plans to increase access to paternity leave need further detail as it is unclear from the manifesto how it is proposed to achieve this.
From a review of the manifestos there are a couple of trends which stick out across all of the major UK parties. Many of the parties proposed policies that follow on from the Taylor Review and Good Work Plan. This seems to indicate that no matter the form of the next Government, the likelihood is that majority of the Taylor Review and Good Work Plan will be sought to be implemented, so employers and employees can plan for this to be the case.
Additionally certain topics appear across the manifestos and there appears to be a convergence of views between the major political parties. There is a consensus approach between parties that the right to request flexible working will be available from the start of employment and therefore it is likely this will be introduced. Employers will therefore need to consider if a role is capable of being worked flexible at an early stage in the employment relationship.
It is likely that new forms of leave will be introduced with neo-natal leave, menopause leave and carers leave all mooted by the different parties. Which of these are taken forward will depend on the structure of the next government but it is likely we will see additional forms of leave introduced. Employers will likely need to design new policies and procedures for dealing with these new forms of leave.
Another common theme is strengthening action on closing the Gender Pay Gap. The current regime requires employers to report their gender pay gap but doesn't require them to take any action to address this provided they comply with Equal Pay legislation. Many of the proposals suggest that this may change and there may be more onerous obligations on employers moving forward.
Get in touch
Whatever the outcome of the forthcoming election, there will be sure to be some changes to employment law in the near future. We are well placed to advise employers on how the proposals will affect them and to assist in planning with the business and practical implications of any such changes. If you have any queries on any of these proposals or their implications, please do not hesitate to contact one of the employment team.