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Amanda Glover comments on the Conservative and Labour manifestos for HR Grapevine

As the UK heads towards the 2024 General Election, the Conservative Party has unveiled a series of pledges aimed at boosting economic growth, supporting businesses, and reforming worker welfare.

‘Business as usual’

Amanda Glover, Associate in the employment team at Clarkslegal LLP says: “The Conservative party manifesto promises a business friendly environment where the burden of regulation will be minimised. However it does commit to balance out business freedom with proportionate protections for consumers and employees. Not surprisingly for a party which has been in government for the last 14 years, there is little on future employment legislation. The manifesto does say however, that the Conservatives will never introduce what it terms ‘French-style’ union rules, which they contend are a threat to job competitiveness and the economy.

“The manifesto states that a future Conservative government will continue implementing minimum service level legislation which ensures that certain services (such as border security and health services) continue to operate at a basic level during industrial action. It will also introduce primary legislation which makes clear that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act 2010 means biological sex. Finally, the Conservatives intend to introduce a period of mandatory national service for all school-leavers aged 18, which will impact their ability to contribute to the labour market.

“Other than this, the employment focus is centred on four main themes:

  • maintaining the national living wage in each year of the next parliament.
  • reducing the levels of workers on sick leave/disability benefits by continuing to overhaul the fit note process – moving responsibility for this away from GPs to specialist work and health professionals.
  • further restricting immigration even for employment purposes; and
  • delivering a lifelong learning entitlement by enabling adults to fund new qualifications through a loan scheme.

Glover concludes: “In short, the Conservative manifesto appears to provide for business as usual.”

Read the full article: HR experts react to the Conservative Party manifesto pledges for workplaces – HR Grapevine

HR experts react to the Conservative Party and Labour Party manifesto pledges for workplaces.

The Labour Party has unveiled its 2024 manifesto with a strong focus on transforming the workplace, supporting small businesses, and ensuring fair treatment for all workers.

Balancing ‘pro-worker’ with ‘pro-business’

Amanda Glover, Associate in the employment team at Clarkslegal LLP says: “Labour has put wealth creation at the heart of its manifesto and has sought to position itself as both pro-business and pro-worker, arguing that business-friendly policies deliver growth and decent employment, whilst worker-friendly policies deliver productivity and business success.

“The manifesto did not add any new policy commitments from an employment perspective, that were not already covered in the previously published ‘Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People’.

“The philosophy and direction of travel is clear and this is likely to result in one of the most radical reforms of the world of work in decades. Employers and HR have been warned they will see action around the banning of fire and rehire, the banning of exploitative zero-hours contracts, the granting of basic day-one rights such as protection against unfair dismissal, the movement towards a single status of worker, greater protections from dismissal for pregnant women, extending pay gap reporting to include ethnicity and disability, ensuring the minimum wage is a real living wage, establishing a single enforcement body for employment rights, enhanced protections for unions and the strengthening of collective bargaining.

“However, the devil will be in the detail when it comes to determining whether the changes will go far enough to protect workers whilst remaining business-friendly.

“Labour’s belief that it can be pro-business and pro-worker, whilst undoubtedly genuinely held, has an electoral advantage, enabling the party to build the broadest possible coalition of voters. However, the detail could well destabilise that coalition, which is why I do not expect it to emerge before 4 July. Unfortunately, employment practitioners will have to wait to see how the cards will fall, but this is not an excuse for failing to scenario plan around the broad tenets of policy which are widely known.”

Read the full article: HR experts react to the Labour Party manifesto pledges for workplaces – HR Grapevine

If you have any employment issues, please contact our employment lawyers for advice.

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