What does Labour's manifesto mean for employers?
Jun 2024
Employment Law & HR

What does Labour's manifesto mean for employers?

Tom Clarke, Associate - Employment Law & HR

The Labour Party last week announced their formal manifesto pledges, which included a commitment to their ‘New Deal for Working People’. With Labour widely expected to win the general election on 4th July, we take a look at the key changes that will affect employers:

  1. New day-one rights: the major announcement is the removal of qualifying periods for many basic workers’ rights. The manifesto refers to rights relating to sick pay and parental leave but crucially also introduces a day-one right not to be unfairly dismissed, removing the current qualifying period of 2 years continuous employment. Probationary periods are likely to offer some flexibility to employers and will become crucial, but further details are expected for what will be a significant change to existing employment practices.
  2. A ban on ‘exploitative’ zero-hour contracts: Rather than a blanket ban on the use of zero-hour contracts, Labour will look to end ‘one-sided flexibility’. This includes giving workers a right to a contract that reflects the number of hours they regularly work (using a 12-week reference period) and an entitlement to proportionate compensation where shifts are cancelled at short notice.
  3. Fire and rehire: Labour have long promised to end the practice of fire and rehire. The manifesto doesn’t promise an outright ban but states the practice must only be used following a full process and where there is genuinely no alternative. New remedies to protect against abuse of the practice are likely to be introduced too.
  4. Worker status: Labour have pledged to remove the distinction between ‘workers’ and ‘employees’ which currently dictates an individual’s entitlement to certain rights. They intend to create a single ‘worker’ status for all those who are not genuinely self-employed contractors, greatly increasing the minimum rights of many workers.
  5. Wages: Labour will remove the existing minimum wage age bands which will increase wages for younger adults. There is also a commitment to strengthening statutory sick pay by removing the lowers earnings limit and scrapping the 3-day waiting period.

Labour have stated their intention to introduce new legislation within their first 100 days in government, though some of these changes may take longer to implement. Regardless, it will be important for employers to begin planning for some significant developments.

Get in touch with Tom with any questions.

Relevant insights & events

Our regular employment law & HR updates keep you up to date with all the latest legal developments you need to know about.

Leave us a message

Send your query by clicking below and we will be in touch as soon as possible

‘Hay & Kilner’ and ‘Hay & Kilner Law Firm’ are both trading names of Hay & Kilner LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales with registered number OC418767. Our registered office is at The Lumen, St James' Boulevard, Newcastle Helix, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5BZ and we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Authorisation number 643191). We use the word ‘partner’ to refer to a member of Hay & Kilner LLP. A list of the members is available at our registered office.