2024 has already been a busy year for employment law, with a significant amount of change. There were several further changes planned for later in the year. But with the announcement of a general election, and the possibility of a new government, these plans are now uncertain. 
 
What does the election mean for employment law? 
 
What will happen to the changes that were planned? 
The Conservatives have not yet released detailed plans for another term in government. But they have not suggested any intention to back away from their current proposals. It seems likely that, if the Conservatives are re-elected, they will continue with their plans to re-introduce tribunal fees, limiting non-compete clauses and introducing minimum service levels during strikes. 
 
The party also planned changes to fit notes and TUPE, which are currently open for consultation. The government will not be able to respond to these consultations or make decisions about implementing the changes during the election period. 
 
Bills on bullying, fertility treatment and unpaid trial work periods are still working their way through Parliament. It seems unlikely the bills will be passed before Parliament is dissolved on 31st May. These will only become law if they are reintroduced by the next government. Laws including changes to allocation of tips, predictable working terms and leave for parents with a child in neonatal care have been passed but not yet implemented. The new government will choose whether to enforce them or repeal them. 
 
The Paternity Leave (Bereavement) Bill - giving partners the right to paternity leave from day 1 where the mother has died - was part way through the process of becoming law. Both parties worked together to use the "wash-up" period to speed the act through before Parliament was resolved. 
 
 
Likely reform 
There are some areas that both main parties agree need reform. These include tightening up the rules around fire and rehire practices, improving predictable hours and ensuring the fair distribution of tips for hospitality workers. This means it is likely we will see reform in these areas whoever is elected, but the approach taken is likely to differ. 
 
 
Labour’s Plans 
The Labour party is currently ahead in the opinion polls, and many people expect we will get a Labour government. The party have set out their plans in their New Deal for Working People whitepaper. In it they acknowledge progress made by the current government and set their intention to build on these changes rather than work against them. 
 
The party’s plans to improve workers’ rights include: 
 
making statutory sick pay available to all workers by removing the lower pay limit and waiting period. 
extending rights to sick pay, parental leave and protection from unfair dismissal to apply from day 1. 
making it harder to dismiss pregnant workers and new mothers. 
making flexible working the default from day 1 where it is reasonably feasible. 
making minimum pay reflect cost of living and removing age bands so that everyone has the same rights. 
reviewing carers leave with the possibility of introducing paid leave. 
 
Some unions, in particular Unite, have raised concerns about Labour softening some of their pledges. Labour had originally promised to ban zero-hours contracts but, appreciating that some workers value the flexibility they offer, will instead improve protections for these workers. Employers will now have to provide reasonable notice of change to shifts and to pay workers for shifts cancelled with insufficient notice. Employers will also have a duty to provide contracts based on the hours people worked in the preceding 12 weeks. 
 
The party had also originally promised employees would get the right to switch off. Instead, this will now follow Ireland and Belgium’s models, giving workers and employers “the opportunity to have constructive conversations and work together on bespoke workplace policies or contractual terms that benefit both parties.” 
 
The party would create several new duties for employers, including: 
 
to report on ethnicity and disability pay gaps, and to include outsourced workers in pay gap reporting. 
to produce action plans to close their gender pay gap and support women through the menopause. 
to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. This is in line with the Conservative’s original bill before it was softened to require only ‘reasonable steps’. 
 
There would be several administrative changes aimed at helping enforce employee’s rights, including: 
 
combining the categories of worker and employee, to create a simpler system where more workers have basic rights. 
establishing a single body to enforce workers' rights, with powers to bring civil proceedings. 
increasing the time limit for bringing claims to six months. 
making it easier for employees to bring collective grievances. 
 
As the party works closely with Trade Unions, it has set out plans to update trade union legislation and remove ‘unnecessary restrictions’ on trade union activity. These plans include: 
 
repealing the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill. 
ensuring gig economy workers have a meaningful right to organise through trade unions. 
making it easier for unions to access workplaces. 
strengthening protection for union representatives and members. 
updating the rules on blacklisting to account for changes in technology. 
 
 
What’s next? 
 
After the election on 4th July we will know which party will form the government. If we keep a Conservative government, it seems likely that the planned changes will continue ahead, with a slight delay due to the election period. 
 
Labour have pledged to introduce legislation within 100 days of entering government but to consult fully before passing legislation. Progress will of course be slightly slower, and it is possible that some pledges may be softened or changed during consultation. So, there is no rush for employers to act immediately. 
 
For now, all we can do is wait to see who forms our next government. 
 
 
Tagged as: Employees, Employers
Share this post:

GET IN TOUCH 

Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
Phone: 0121 817 0520 
Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
Keep in touch 

SCHEDULE AN INITIAL CALL 

We take your privacy seriously and will only use the information you provide on this contact form to deal with your enquiry. Please see our Client Privacy Policy for more detail. 
Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings