Whilst the political landscape is still not clear following last week’s election result, we look at the employment-related pledges put forward by the Conservative party in its manifesto.
Here are some of the key pledges:
- In relation to tax, the Conservatives have pledged, by 2020, to increase the personal allowance to 12,500 and the higher rate tax threshold to 50,000, and to reduce corporation tax to 17 percent.
- Increase the National Living Wage (currently 7.50) in line with median earnings.
- Increase, to 2,000 per year, the Immigration Skills Charge which is levied on businesses who employ non-EU workers under a ‘Tier 2’ visa. The charge, which was introduced on 6th April 2017, is currently 1,000 per year.
- Make sure that those working in the ‘gig economy’ are properly protected. In our April newsletter we referred to the appointment of Matthew Taylor by the Prime Minister last year to lead an independent review into modern employment practices. The Conservative party has stated that it will await the outcome of that review. It will be interesting to see what measures are taken by the government in this controversial area at that stage.
- Ensure that executive pay is subject to vote by shareholders, and to require listed companies to publish the ratio of their executive pay to broader workforce pay.
- Require companies with more than 250 staff to publish more data about pay for male and female workers, in an attempt to close the gender pay gap. Legislation which came into force on 6th April 2017 already requires employers with 250 or more staff to publish certain information about the pay gap between male and female workers – how the rules might be extended is not clear.
- Following Brexit, workers here will be granted the same rights that they currently have through Britain’s membership of the EU.
- Take steps to improve how workers take up their right to shared parental leave, and support businesses to hire carers and parents coming back to work after a long absence.
- Extend the provisions of the Equality Act in relation to mental health conditions, and amend workplace health and safety legislation in relation to mental health.
- Give advice and support to businesses to hire people with disabilities and health conditions.
If the Conservatives, as the largest party following the election, are able to form a new government, we will have to wait and see which of these pledges it will seek to enact, and whether it will get the necessary support to do so.