What changes to employment law would Labour introduce if elected?
Labour has announced their commitment, if elected, to introduce an Employment Bill within the first 100 days of entering office. Announced as a ‘cast iron commitment’ by Angela Rayner at the TUC Congress on 13 September, the Bill will be introduced as part of Labour’s ‘New Deal for Working People’.
- A repeal of ‘anti Trade Union’ legislation, including The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023.
- Giving unions a new legal reasonable right to access workplaces. This will be underpinned by a regulated legal framework, allowing unions to meet, represent, recruit and organise members.
- Simplifying the statutory recognition process to ensure that gig economy and remote workers can meaningfully organise through trade unions.
- Boosting collective bargaining ‘both at a firm level and sectorally’, starting with Adult Social Care, empowering workers, unions and employers in those sectors to negotiate fair pay and conditions.
- Giving people ‘fundamental employment rights’ from day one on the job. These will include:
- Protection from unfair dismissal. This was not specifically referred to by Ms Rayner at the TUC Congress, and it had previously been reported in the media that the Labour Party’s policy forum had changed the proposal on this and other ‘day one rights’ by clarifying that this would not prevent ‘probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes’.
- Family friendly working rights
- Right to flexible working
- Strengthening sick pay making it available to all workers, from day one
- Extending the time period for individuals to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal, and removing the caps on the amount of compensation that workers can receive.
- Banning zero hours contracts.
There are also commitments to put an end to fire and rehire, to end the gender pay gap, to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace and to introduce mandatory ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting for employers with more than 250 staff.
Since the introduction of the right for employees to claim unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal, the qualifying period has varied from six months to two years. It has never been a ‘day one right’. If the proposal to introduce protection from unfair dismissal as a day one right proceeds, this will be a significant change for employers.
26 September 2023
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