What could the UK General Election mean for employment law?

The UK General Election called for 4 July 2024 will impact the employment related legislation currently going through Parliament and shape future reform in this area.

Whilst we will keep you updated about potential future employment law changes as the plans of the political parties become clear, below is what we know right now.

Employment law currently going through Parliament

Parliament will be “dissolved” on 30 May 2024, giving Parliament the next week to rush through any last pieces of legislation. Unfinished legislation will fall away unless and until reintroduced in the next Parliament.

It therefore remains to be seen what happens to the fire and re-hire Code of Practice, the new law on tipping, the right to request a more predictable working pattern, and neonatal leave.   

Future Reform

The main political parties have not published their full manifestos yet, but the last 12 months has given us an indication of what they may promise in terms of employment law reform. 

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has not published its plans for future employment law if re-elected. However, it is likely the party would continue reforms announced whilst in Government such as its Back to Work Plan, regulating non-disclosure agreements, capping post-termination non-compete clauses, TUPE reform and re-introducing employment tribunal fees.

Labour Party

The Labour Party set out proposals for significant changes to employment law (if elected) in its New Deal for Working People. This included proposals to:

  • ban zero-hour contracts;
  • end fire and re-hire;
  • get rid of qualifying periods for “basic rights”, such as unfair dismissal, sick pay and parental leave;
  • strengthen family-friendly rights;
  • introduce a ‘right to switch off’;
  • update trade union legislation; and
  • introduce sectoral collective bargaining by way of Fair Pay Agreements.  

Reports suggest that Labour stand by their promise to introduce an Employment Rights Bill within the first 100 days of entering office, albeit there have been noises that there may be a possible dilution of the reforms proposed and a need for consultation.

Liberal Democrats

In September 2023, the Liberal Democrats announced a proposal to reform parental leave, providing all workers (including the self-employed) with a day one right to six weeks’ statutory parental leave and pay, followed by another 46 weeks’ leave for parents to share as they choose. The party has not yet made any other employment policy commitments.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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