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Election 2017 - Key Party Pledges Affecting The Workplace

on Friday, 19 May 2017.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have now published their manifestos for the General Election on 8 June 2017, but what are the main pledges affecting workers?


Conservatives

  • Post-Brexit worker rights - all workers' rights derived from EU law will be protected after Brexit and workers will enjoy the same rights after Brexit as they currently do.

  • Unpaid leave to care for family members - workers will be allowed to take between 13 and 52 weeks off work, while retaining their employment rights and having the opportunity to return to the same job at the end of the period.

  • 'Returnships' - additional training and support will be provided to employers to help women and carers acquire the skills and experience they need to return to work after a period of absence looking after children or caring for an elderly relative.

  • Child bereavement leave - workers will be entitled to take two weeks’ paid leave after the loss of a child.

  • National Living Wage (NLW) - the NLW will continue to increase for workers aged 25 and over, as the government works towards its target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020.

  • Employment status and the gig economy - once the Taylor Report into modern employment practices has been concluded, the government will ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and gig-economy workers are properly protected.

Labour

  • Post-Brexit worker rights - all rights (including employment rights) guaranteed under EU legislation will be protected after Brexit.

  • Zero and short hours contracts - zero hours contracts will be banned to ensure that all workers receive a guaranteed number of hours of work per week and ensure that workers who work 'regular hours' for more than 12 weeks have the opportunity to switch to a 'regular contract'.

  • National Minimum Wage (NMW) - the NMW will increase for all workers aged 18 or over to the level of the national living wage (ie £10 per hour by 2020) and more employers that refuse to pay the NMW will be prosecuted.

  • Work and families - the current entitlement for working families to receive 30 hours of free childcare will be extended to all 2-year-olds and there will be an increase in the rate of paternity pay to four weeks, as well as the period of maternity pay to 12 months. In addition, four new bank holidays will be introduced to commemorate the patron saint of each country in the UK.

  • Employment status - all workers will be given equal rights from the outset and employee rights will be extended to all workers. The party also intends to implement a range of measures to tackle the rise in 'bogus self-employment', including creating a statutory definition for 'self-employed', 'worker' and 'employee' and shifting the burden of proof to the employer to prove that a worker is not an employee.

Liberal Democrats

  • Brexit - the party opposes a hard Brexit and are committed to ensuring that the final Brexit deal is subject to a referendum. They remain in favour of being part of the EU.

  • Discrimination and human rights - there will be a drive for more female/ethnic minority representation in the boardroom, as well as a push to ensure that companies in the private sector publish data on gender, BAME and LGBT employment levels and pay gaps.

  • Working families - in a repeat of the 2015 manifesto, there will be greater emphasis on the rights of flexible working, paternity leave and shared parental leave, as well as the introduction of an additional one month 'use it or lose it' period of shared parental leave for fathers.
  • Public sector workers - there will be an end to the pay freeze in the NHS and the cap of 1% on other areas of public sector pay, increasing wages in line with inflation. There will also be greater protection for NHS whistleblowers and a guarantee that NHS and social care staff from within the EU will have the right to remain in the UK after Brexit.

  • Zero hours contracts and the gig economy - there will be an introduction of the right for workers to request a fixed term contract from their employer and a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time.

For more information, please contact Eleanor Boyd in our Employment Law team on 020 7665 0940.

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