What a change in government could mean for employment law 

September, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

The UK political temperature is rising.

With a General Election in the offing next year, and Labour now ahead in opinion polling, UK business would be wise to consider what a change in government could mean for employment law.

A recent indication of Labour’s current thinking on employment policy was given by Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, in her speech to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on 12 September 2023.

Labour’s plans include:

  • A guarantee to bring forward an Employment Bill within 100 days of their taking office to “build an economy that works for working people”
  • Repealing the 2016 and 2023 trade union legislation, implemented by the current government
  • Implementing further measures to strengthen the prohibition on blacklisting of union members
  • Creating a new legal right for reasonable access to workplaces for trade unions
  • Allowing trade unions to use secure and private electronic balloting when engaging, communicating with and polling their members, including for workplace ballots
  • A fair pay agreement in the social care sector
  • Rights such as unfair dismissal and parental leave to apply from day one of employment
  • A ban on zero-hour contracts
  • An end to the practice of fire and rehire
  • Strengthened sick pay, making it available to all workers
  • Stronger measures to seek to end the gender pay gap and address unequal pay
  • Measures to tackle sexual harassment at work
  • Increased minimum wage

The current government has faced criticism for failing to bring forward a comprehensive Employment Bill to address a range of employment law reforms, opting to instead target specific employment rights by supporting individual Private Members’ Bills.

Labour’s plans, if implemented, could have a significant impact on businesses. So, with the prospect of a new government next year seeming entirely possible, employers would be well advised to monitor the situation and the potential for future changes to employment law.  


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