General Election May 2015

Between now and the General Election, the Employment team will be focusing on what the various political parties have to say about changes they would make which would impact on employment law if they are elected.  In this article we focus on what the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP have said so far.

The Conservative Party has set out a number of employment related reforms which include the following:

•  Introduction of a British Bill of Rights which will replace the existing Human
    Rights Act.
•  The introduction of a 50% minimum voting threshold for a strike to be lawful.
•  Ending the use of exclusive zero hours contracts.

The Labour Party has set out more detailed proposals than any of the other major parties (to date) including the following:

•  Increasing the National Minimum wage to £8 per hour by 2020 and the
    maximum fine for those who deliberately pay below the minimum wage to
    £50,000 and taking action to prevent agency workers being paid less.
•  Free childcare for working parents to be increased to 25 hours per week.
•  Major reforms to the employment tribunal system including in relation to
    Tribunal fees.
•  Reviewing the TUPE rules.
•  Increasing transparency on pay by requiring companies to publish the ratio of
    pay of their top earners with the average employee, as well as the pay of the top
    10 earners outside the boardroom and ensure there is an employee on
    remuneration committees.
•  Establishing "make work pay" contracts through giving tax rebates to
    companies that pay the living wage.
•  Monitoring employment practices to assess whether employers are increasing
    the use of short-term contracts following action on zero hours contracts and
    take action to prevent this.
•  Ensure the provision of high quality apprenticeships are a pre-requisite of any
    bid for significant government contracts and a requirement that large firms offer
    apprenticeships in return for hiring workers from outside the UK.

The Liberal Democrats have set out proposals to:

•  Increase the minimum wage for apprentices.
•  Give greater assistance to litigants in person.
•  Blank out names from application forms in the public sector in order to reduce
    discrimination.

UKIP have not set out any detailed proposals in relation to employment law recently but have identified three areas which would have an impact on employment in the UK:

•  Their key policy area is that the UK would leave the EU which would have a
    significant effect on current legislation in an employment context given that
    much of the legislation derives from European law.
•  Replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
•  Creating a positive right to discriminate in favour of young British workers in an
    employment context.

As policies are developed in the run-up to the General Election we will continue to report on what the employment law landscape may look like after May 2015. Watch this space.