Since the Conservatives secured a substantial victory in last week’s general election, the question on everyone’s lips refers to the extent they are going to follow through with their employment law proposals. Below are a list of the main ones you can expect to see a change in.
Zero Hours Contracts
Exclusivity clauses are most likely going to be done away with providing section 153 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 is brought into force. There is also likely to be encouragement to enhance transparency and information of ZHC terms and conditions, given most political parties took a very hard view on this.
It is likely that the national minimum wage will rise to £6.70 on 1 October 2015 as expected. The Conservatives have said that by the end of 2020 it will be £8.00. They have also planned to raise the personal tax free allowance to £12,500 which links to the increase in minimum personal wage.
A number of proposals have been suggested in this area, mainly to prevent disruptive and undemocratic striking. In important public services it is likely that 40% of eligible voters will have to vote in favour of the strike, while 50% or more must vote in all ballots. The ban on employers using agency workers could also be lifted.
The aim is to ensure greater equality through making companies with more than 250 employees publish the difference in average pay of their male and female employees, as well as providing more opportunities for disabled people to gain employment. They also support greater female representation on company boards.
The plan is to create 3 million more apprenticeships over the next three years. They are generally keen to increase the number of young people into work.
It is likely Employment Tribunal fees will remain as they are subject to the outcome of the judicial review appeal this year.
Public Sector Redundancy Payments
They have said that they wish to cap public sector redundancy payments at £95,000 with an exception for those who earn less than £27,000. Public sector exit payments will also occur in certain situations.
The European Union
They have promised that an election determining whether the UK stays in/out of the EU will occur by 2017, which would have huge implications for Employment Law. Along with this they are also keen to ensure that the European Court of Human Rights becomes an advisory body with the UK’s decisions on human rights being made in the UK courts only. They plan to introduce a new British Bill of Rights which would replace the Human Rights Act 1998 also.
Provided Public sector employers and companies have more than 250 employees they are required to give staff up to three paid days off a year to undertake voluntary work.
There are plans to make regulations in the labour market more stringent to essentially crack down on illegal workers and their exploitation. New laws such as the Modern Slavery Act could also require businesses to divulge the steps taken to prevent slavery and trafficking, particularly in supply chains.
Long Term Sickness
They plan to give those suffering from treatable conditions like addictions and obesity the medical care and attention they need in order to ensure they can return to work as soon as possible.
It is without a doubt that we can expect changes in the future regarding the proposals listed above. Ultimately, the hope is that the Conservatives are as committed to improving Employment in the UK as they say they are. The planned referendum on membership of the EU in 2017 will change the face of Employment Law again.
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