As we outlined in our blog on June 24th, The Labour Party outlined its new deal for working people in its ‘Plan to Make Work Pay’ which they described at the time as the biggest upgrade to rights at work for a generation.

‘We did it’: Starmer says Britain has chance to ‘get its future back’ as Labour wins election (Image Source: LBC)

Anticipated Impact on HR and Employment Law

Here’s a quick reminder of Labour’s detailed plans:

1. Creating a single class of worker (as opposed to the current 3 types of employment status) for all but the genuinely self-employed.

    2. Introducing the right to claim unfair dismissal from day 1 of employment (currently 2 years’ service is required) although they stress this ‘will not prevent an employer from dismissing fairly or from using probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes’.

    3. Introducing new redundancy consultation rules by removing the concept of an ‘establishment’ so that consultation is determined by the number of people impacted across the business.

    4. Replacing the recently introduced Code of Practice on Fire & Rehire with enhanced legislation and stronger remedies against abuse.

    5. Enhancing family rights with increased protection for maternity returners, bereavement leave to be introduced for all workers, paid carer’s leave and a review of parental rights.

    6. A focus on sickness, wellbeing and disability with SSP to be paid from day 1 (currently day 4) and the removal of the lower earnings cap, menopause action plans, best practice to be followed when an employee has a terminal illness, guidance in working in extreme temperatures and the creation and maintenance of harassment-free workplaces.

    7. Linking the national Living Wage to the cost of living, removing the 18-21 age band, a ban on unpaid internships (except those which are a part of education and training) and a commitment to hospitality workers keeping their tips in full (the previous Government announced last September that The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 would be introduced, so this is effectively a commitment to this new legislation which is to be introduced in the Autumn anyway).

    8. Extending pay gap reporting to include outsourced workers in the reporting and extending the reports beyond gender, to cover ethnicity and disability pay gaps too.

    9. Banning zero hours contracts, with a right to a guaranteed number of hours based on a 12-week reference period, a right to reasonable notice of work schedule and a right to receive wages for shifts cancelled at short notice.

    10. Promoting work life balance with the right to switch off and disconnect modelled on approaches already in place in Belgium and Ireland.

    11. Overhauling current trade union legislation by repealing legislation that introduced a threshold for ballots and restrictions on picketing, minimum staffing levels in certain sectors and the right to replace striking staff with agency workers. They also plan to reform the ballot system, simplify the union recognition process, create greater rights to union access in the workplace and introduce a new duty for employers to inform new starters of their right to join a trade union.

    12. And finally, they have also announced their intention to reduce pressure on the overstretched Employment Tribunal system, allow quicker access to justice, create a single enforcement body for workers’ rights, extend the time limit in which a tribunal application can be made from 3 to 6 months and make it easier to raise collective grievances through ACAS.

    The Impact on Employers and HR Professionals

    Labour committed to introducing new legislation within 100 days of entering government, signalling their intent to ‘hit the ground running’. If this promise become reality, we will be seeing new laws introduced by the beginning of October.

    The pace and extent of change is significant as will be the impact on employers and HR professionals.  As we outlined in our previous blog, all employers will need to be looking at:

    • Contracts of Employment (e.g. probationary periods, tips, zero hours, guaranteed hours, notice of work schedules and cancellation of shifts, trade union membership
    • Policies (e.g. probation, redundancy, parental and family, sickness, right to switch off)
    • Payroll processes (e.g. tips, SSP, national minimum wage, NI contributions)
    • Trade Union procedures and agreements

    With larger employers also needing to look at their statutory reporting requirements.

    These changes are going to require a whole new approach and way of thinking for many employers.  Will the changes be a positive thing or not… Well that remains to be seen.

    But what’s for sure, if we take the introduction of the right to claim unfair dismissal from day 1 of employment alone, there will be a hugely increased emphasis on recruiting the right people, alongside managing the induction and probationary period robustly.

    If you’d like to know more or need help with planning for and implementing these changes, please get in touch with us today.

    Stay proactive, stay informed and ensure your organisation is prepared for what lies ahead.