Polling for People Teams: General Election vs Employment Law

May 30, 2024

With the general election looming, the incoming government have been warned that the UK’s labour laws need to be modernised. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) expressed that existing legislation is not fit for purpose– future laws need to be adapted to suit a more flexible labour market, enforceable for employers and accessible for workers to understand their rights.

The REC’s new report, Labour Laws Fit for the Future, focussed on modernising legislation to cater for temporary workers and flexible working practices, such as the Workers (Predictable Terms & Conditions) Act 2023 and Health and Safety at Work. With the next general election pencilled for 4 July 2024, it’s a good time to start thinking about what may be on the horizon for the winning party.


Should the Conservatives secure another term at the helm – they’d continue with their existing agendas, including:

* The introduction of The Neonatal Care (Leave & Pay) Act 2023 – due to come into force in April 2025, facilitating 12 weeks of paid leave for employees whose baby is admitted to hospital for 7 days or more during their first 28 days following birth;
* Reform of industrial action law to introduce minimum levels of service which must be met during strike periods to ensure public safety and reduce strike disruption;
* Re-introduce employment tribunal fees;
* Reduce the length of non-compete clauses; and
* Address return to work plans for those that are considered unfit for work (in full or in part).

Some other ideas they have in the pipeline, include:

* Introducing a Bullying and Respect at Work Bill;
* Enhancing leave rights for new Fathers, including bereavement; and
* Stamping out unpaid trial shifts as part of hiring processes.


The Labour Party has a whole host of workplace reform strategies on their agenda should they win the general election in July too. Some of these strategies include:

* Remove qualifying periods for basic rights such as unfair dismissal, sick pay and parental leave so that they become day-one rights;
* Strengthen accessibility to Statutory Sick Pay;
* Improve consultation procedures to prevent workers from being dismissed for not agreeing to less favourable employment terms (known as fire and re-hire);
* Extend employment tribunal deadlines and remove compensation caps; and
* Remove distinction from legislation between employees and workers so that all are afforded the same rights and protections.

Liberal Democrats

Should the Lib Dems nab the top spot, they’ve also got employment legislation on their minds. They vow to plough investment into early years education and family support. They’ve previously campaigned for:

* Giving all workers (including the self-employed) a day-one right to parental leave and pay;
* Increasing Statutory Paternity Pay to 90% of earnings (with a cap for high-earners);
* Delivering free, full-time childcare for children from nine months of age (where both parents are working);
* Introducing a ‘Skills Wallet’ for every adult in the UK to spend on education and training throughout their working life; and
* Revoking Article 50 to give British businesses better access to workers from the EU.

The chief exec. of REC has urged political parties to demonstrate their understanding of the needs of the labour market over the coming weeks during their campaigns. Neil Carberry said that “In the next few weeks, politicians must show that they really get today’s labour market. From helping people build skills to investment in transport and childcare, there is a lot to do. But it starts with understanding that workers and businesses need a more flexible approach than in the past, and that our regulation, skills and tax systems need to keep up. The UK has a tight labour supply – we need to make the most of it. The cost to the UK economy in lost wages and profits could be up to £39 billion every year – if we get it wrong.“

2024 has already seen a host of employment law changes and we’re guaranteed to see more regardless of the outcome of the general election. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and update you on any progressions. On that parting note, what reforms would you like to see pushed through parliament?  

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