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  • General Election Results: Key HR changes for businesses in Labour’s first 100 days

General Election Results: Key HR changes for businesses in Labour’s first 100 days

What does a Labour government mean for employment law and your business? Everything we know so far…

First published on Friday, Jul 05, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Jul 05, 2024

8 min read

The results are in and after 14 years of Conservative Government, Kier Starmer’s Labour Party has won the polls.

This means major employment law changes for the UK are on the way! Especially if they live up to their plan to “Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People” in their first 100 days.

It’s a lot of change to take in by yourself. But don’t worry, we’ve summarised everything you need to know about the policies Labour have committed to so far, including essential advice and a handy HR checklist to help you navigate the changes with confidence…

Man reading a free HR checklist about Labours first 100 days.

Employment rights from day one

Labour is committed to removing the waiting period for accessing key employment rights, including protection against unfair dismissal, eligibility for sick pay, and parental leave requirements.

Under the Conservative government, employees only gain protections from unfair dismissal after two years of service. Labour is set to grant this protection from day one.

This means employers will have to be more vigilant with their disciplinary actions and have solid HR support at the ready to prevent a surge in unfair dismissal allegations.

Making sure you have the right support ahead of these changes is key. Our employment specialists are available 24/7 to provide professional employment advice and help businesses prevent a surge in unfair dismissal allegations.

Workers and employees to get the same basic rights and protections

Labour is set to standardise employment rights by treating each individual equally, removing the distinction between ‘employee’ and ‘worker’, affording everyone the same fundamental employment rights from the outset.

A significant update to existing policies and contracts is necessary. Not aligning your business with this new legislation could lead to a rise in tribunal claims.

If you need extra support, BrightBase our online HR document library offers a comprehensive collection of over 300+ professionally crafted templates, policies, and contracts, to help you stay up-to-date and compliant with evolving laws.

National minimum wage to increase to £10 per hour and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be extended to all workers

Labour aims to abolish the age-related bandings set on the National Minimum Wage, ensuring all workers receive a minimum of £10 per hour. In the past, they have proposed an increase to sick pay, as well as making it available to all workers.

Employers need to be mindful of these potential changes, as failure to comply could lead to significant fines and action from HMRC. Using integrated payroll software, especially one backed by employment law experts, can help businesses adapt to wage changes seamlessly and maintain compliant payroll practices.

Sign up early for BrightHR Payroll, our comprehensive payroll management software, to stay informed about its release.

Strengthened employment rights and protections

With Labour’s win, the protections for pregnant employees, whistleblowers, those facing redundancy, and individuals affected by TUPE will be strengthened.

Employers must ensure their policies reflect these enhanced protections to comply with the new regulations. It’s crucial to stay informed and prepared to implement these changes effectively.

Steps to close pay gaps

Labour’s commitment to equality includes measures to narrow the pay gaps based on gender, ethnicity, and disability. They will require companies with more than 250 employees to disclose their ethnicity pay gap.

For more advice on this topic, ask our instant AI advice tool, Bright Brainbox: What should be included in a gender pay gap report?

Taking a stronger stance against workplace harassment

Labour will require employers to ramp up their initiatives to combat sexual harassment, aiming for a more secure workplace.

Implementing comprehensive workplace training, establishing firm sexual harassment policies, maintaining a well-communicated stance of zero tolerance, and providing proper support systems for reporting harassment are key strategies employers can adopt to manage this transition smoothly and risk-free.

Expand flexible working rights

Labour is set to grant employees the right to request flexible working arrangements from the first day of employment unless it’s not practically feasible. The specifics of what constitutes ‘reasonably feasible’ are still to be clarified, as well as how this will alter current laws.

Employers should review their policies and practices in anticipation of these changes. To adapt to a more flexible workforce, it’s advisable for employers to invest in scheduling software or digital time-tracking apps like Blip, which can help manage hybrid or flexible teams more efficiently.

BrightLearn also has a handy course on dealing with flexible working requests, especially for your managers. So, if they need a bit of extra support following the right process, they can learn everything they need to know. Discover a wide range of CPD-accredited courses with BrightLearn.

Improving family-friendly rights

Labour’s agenda includes expanding statutory maternity and paternity leave rights, reevaluating the shared parental leave system, and introducing bereavement leave rights. They also aim to enhance protections for pregnant employees.

Additionally, Labour is dedicated to supporting workers with family emergencies and responsibilities by proposing paid family and carer’s leave, increased flexible working choices, and more rigorous enforcement of these rights.

This comprehensive approach ensures that workers’ family-related needs are better accommodated in the workplace.

Increasing job security for staff on zero-hour contracts

Labour is set to provide workers on zero-hour contracts, who have regular hours for 12 weeks or more, the right to a standard contract. They’re also pushing for fair notice of shift changes and compensation for shift cancellations or loss of work.

Our shift and rota planning software can help you create working patterns and schedules ahead of time, preventing unpredictable problems and helping you avoid legal repercussions. This proactive approach can help maintain smooth operations and compliance with new employment standards.

Reform ‘fire and rehire’ practices

Labour is committed to cracking down on ‘fire and rehire’ tactics by improving consultation processes and amending laws on unfair dismissal and redundancy, so workers cannot be dismissed for rejecting imposed terms.

For expert and instant advice on this topic, ask Brainbox: What is fire and rehire?

Boost mental health support

Labour is set to improve support for neurodiverse staff and assess approaches that handle stress, mental health, and long COVID in the workplace.

According to their manifesto, they’ve also committed to developing a fully funded and fully costed mental health plan straight away to support people who want to work, to be in work.

Providing access to an employee assistance programme is a proactive way to support employee wellbeing and stay ahead of potential new workplace regulations.

Empowering workers with the ‘right to disconnect’

Labour is to introduce the ‘right to disconnect’ to prevent out-of-hours surveillance of workers. Employers must avoid pressuring employees to communicate after work hours.

Legal and robust policies are crucial to avert any issues. For assistance, BrightBase offers expert document support.

Strengthen trade union rights

Labour is reinforcing trade union rights, mandating employers to notify employees of their right to join a union in written contracts.

Updating employee contracts by yourself can be risky. But as long as there is a good reason, and you follow the correct process you can make any changes you need to.

Did you happen to catch our webcast on how to avoid contract breaches? Don’t worry if not, you can catch up on-demand in our resource hub.

Extend time for tribunal claims and remove compensation caps

Labour is set to extend the time frame for filing employment tribunal claims and has removed the cap on compensation awards, allowing for fairer outcomes in employment disputes.

For rapid advice on unfair dismissal awards ask Bright Brainbox: How much can unfair dismissal awards be?

Get 24/7 employment law advice

Need more support navigate significant employment law change? Our BrightAdvice team is here to steer you clear from any pitfalls.

As a BrightAdvice customer, you’re welcome to reach out as often as you need, our advice is completely unlimited.

Connect with BrightAdvice instantly: 0800 470 2432

Not a BrightAdvice customer? Learn more about how our expert employment law line can support your business.

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