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Change is Coming. What can Employers Expect?

Labour campaigned on a platform of change. What employment and work-related reforms should SMEs begin to prepare for?

Andrew Collier
Andrew Collier HR Adviser
After Labour’s record landslide victory, attention is rapidly turning to what the new government plans to do over the next 100 days. 
Labour has promised a ‘plan to make work pay’ under its New Deal for Working People and campaigned on a platform of significant reform, in particular to employment law.  
Here are the main areas that SMEs should expect to be reformed:
  • Banning zero hours contracts.
  • Reforming the practice of fire and rehire.
  • New Day One rights on protection from unfair dismissal and parental leave. 
  • Increasing Employment Tribunal time limit claims to six months.
  • Simplifying employment status so that someone is either a worker or genuinely self-employed.
  • Increasing the minimum wage so that it is a genuine living wage.
  • Removing the age bands so that all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.
  • Taking action to reduce the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.
  • Strengthening protections against maternity and menopause discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as strengthening protections for whistleblowers reporting sexual harassment.
  • Introducing a right to ‘switch off.’ 
  • Updating trade union legislation by removing some restrictions on trade union activity, improving access to trade unions within workplaces and strengthening the protections available to trade union representatives and members.
Labour has committed to introducing legislation within 100 days but also to consult fully with businesses and workers before legislation is passed.
This legislation is likely to incorporate many of the proposed changes set out above and will have a significant impact on the way employment law in general and the employment tribunal system operates in the United Kingdom.
This does not mean that the changes will be in force within 100 days: the legislation will have to go through the parliamentary process, and it is highly likely that there will then be an implementation period of some kind to allow institutions and businesses to prepare for the upcoming changes.
Whilst there are still uncertainties over how the legislation will ultimately look or when the changes will come into effect, what is clear is that a Labour government will instigate a fundamental change to the world of work – which means there will be a lot for employers and HR professionals to get to grips with. 

WorkSmarter will keep you up to date with these changes, helping you understand new legislation and your obligations so you can avoid complications and stay compliant. Our HR Partners can offer bespoke advice and guidance. 
Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.

Photo by Ross Findon via Unsplash

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