What Will a Labour Government Mean for Your Business’ HR Function?

Keir Starmer heralding the era-of-the-employee.

Keir Starmer seems to be stepping ever-closer to standing on the steps of Number 10 and heralding the era-of-the-employee.

This suggests a significant shift in public support and political momentum in favour of Labour. But, what does this really mean for your business and your HR function?

Labour’s Key Employment Pledges

  • Banning exploitative zero hours contracts (the key word here is ‘exploitative’ – it will not be an outright ban).
  • Ending fire and rehire (although the wording of the New Deal document here stops short of a clear out-right ban). 
  • Introducing a day 1 right to sick pay, parental leave and (most significantly) unfair dismissal (although the New Deal document indicates that probationary periods will have a special status here).
  • Setting up a single enforcement body to enforce workers rights. 
  • Altering the criteria for determining national minimum wage to include consideration of cost of living and removing age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.
  • Creating a ‘Fair Pay Agreement’ to allow for sectoral collective bargaining in the Adult Social Care Sector.
  • Right for employees to have a contract which reflects the hours they regularly work, based on a twelve-week reference period.
  • Extension of tribunal time limits for bringing all claims from three months to six months.
  • Requirement for employers with more than 250 employees to have a menopause action plan.
  • New duties on large employers to produce ethnicity and disability pay gap reports.
  • Making collective redundancy consultation requirements dependent on the number of redundancies across the whole business rather than the number at each ‘establishment’.
  • Requirement for the section 1 statement issued to all new starters to inform staff of their right to join a trade union.
  • Introduction of a right to switch off (or, at the very least, the right to discuss switching off with your employer).
  • Consulting on an eventual move towards a single status of worker, incorporating all but the genuinely self-employed.
  • Making flexible working a default right unless employers have a good reason to refuse it.
  • Reversal of the changes made under the Trade Union Act 2016 (which increased required turnout for ballots, added more required information for ballot papers, limited strike mandates to six months and required two weeks‘ notice to be given of a ballot for industrial action rather than one).
  • Abolishing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023.
  • Removing the requirement for fully postal ballots for industrial action.
  • Making it easier for unions to gain recognition by removing the requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote on recognition need to vote in a ballot for it to be valid for recognition.
  • Right for trade unions to access workplaces for recruitment and organising purposes.
  • Introduction of a right to unpaid bereavement leave (currently only available following the death of a child).

With many policy changes designed to favour the employee, the looming and inevitable changes in employment law are likely to have a profound impact on your business and require significant management from your HR team.

Businesses will need to update HR strategies, policies, procedures and be ready to implement and communicate changes quickly – protecting the business by ensuring compliance with employment law.

Email Personology and we’ll make sure you don’t miss any important employment law changes.