A New Labour Government – What this means for Employment Law:

by Priya Magar

9 July 2024

After the recent election results, we thought it would be helpful to summarise what Labour said it intends to implement in respect of changes in employment law:

Stable and Predictable Work:

  • To promote stable and predictable work, Labour wants to ban zero-hour contracts that cannot guarantee employees a minimum number of work hours. This was a slight change to their previous stance of banning zero-hour contracts completely.
  •  In their manifesto, Labour said that it recognises that zero-hour contracts can benefit individuals and is therefore focusing on addressing ‘one-sided flexibility’ that mainly benefits employers.
  • In order to create predictable work, Labour state that they are committed to having workers obtain reasonable notice if their shifts or working times have changed. Moreover, if shifts have been cancelled, proportionate compensation will be given as a result of short notice.

Day 1 Employment Rights:

  • Labour would like to give workers the security to change their jobs without having to wait two years to access certain rights such as protection against unfair dismissal, parental leave, and sick pay.
  • Under their proposals, employers will still be able to have probationary periods to be able to decide whether they are satisfied with their newly hired staff, however, Labour want to ensure that they will not be fired without satisfactory reasoning. We await to see what Labour means by “satisfactory reasoning”.

End Fire and Rehire practices:

  • Labour plan to reform the law to give working individuals remedies against the ‘fire and rehire’ practices and to ‘restrengthen’ the current code of practice regarding the ‘fire and rehire’ practice. This would involve banning the ability to dismiss employees who refuse to agree to changes of their employment contracts and then proceed to offer them a new employment contract which would benefit the employer more.

Employment Status:

  • At present, there are three categories of employment status: employees, workers, and self-employed individuals.
  • Labour plan for each category to come with distinct rights and entitlements. Labour intends to streamline employees and workers into a single ‘worker’ status, differentiating only between ‘self-employed’ and ‘workers’.

Fair Pay:

  • Labour would like the National Minimum Wage to reflect the current cost of living and ensure that this is enough for people to live on. Additionally, they plan to eliminate the existing age bands, ensuring the same pay rate for everyone, regardless of age.

Right to switch off:

  • Labour wish to introduce the right to switch off and to achieve this, giving workers/employees and employers the opportunity to have meaningful discussions and to develop workplace policies or contractual terms which benefit both the worker/employees and employer.

With Labour planning significant changes to employment law, employers should closely monitor the new legislation which is upcoming. Whether you’re an employee or an employer in need of assistance, please reach out to the EMW employment team, who are ready to help.

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