Labour’s employment law plans

What they could mean for employees

The Houses of Parliament

With the Labour Party having won a landslide victory in the UK General Election on 4 July, employment lawyer Alice Bowman looks at some of the key changes of importance to employees that Labour plans to make to employment law.

1. Update trade union legislation

Allan McDougall Solicitors’ trade union clients and their members will be all too aware of recent legislation undermining the power of trade unions. Labour have said that it will repeal the Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022. Labour has also said it will simplify the process for trade union recognition and increase rights for trade union representatives. It will also introduce a new duty on employers to inform all new employees of their right to join a trade union and introduce rights for trade unions to access workplaces. 

2. Ban zero hours contracts

As an accredited Zero Hours Justice employer, we know how damaging precarious zero hours contracts can be for employees. Labour proposes to ban zero hours contracts and to ensure that everyone has a right to a contract which reflects the number of hours they regularly work.

3. End “fire and rehire”

Labour has proposed to provide effective remedies against dismissal and re-engagement processes, more commonly known as “fire and rehire”, and to introduce a strengthened Code of Practice. Although at first glance this looks promising, Labour’s plan doesn’t seem to be to abolish “fire and rehire” in its entirety, but rather to make it harder for employers to carry it out and to ensure fair process is followed.

4. Give employees basic day one rights not to be unfairly dismissed

At present, employees require two years’ continuous service to give them a right not to be unfairly dismissed. Labour proposes to give employees the right not to be unfairly dismissed from day one, with the caveat that employers can use probationary periods to assess new starts. No doubt this will be a welcome development for trade unions and their members as well as many other employees.

5. Create a single employment status of “worker”

The widely litigated issues of employment status and bogus self-employment may well be a thing of the past. Instead of having three categories of employment status, those being “employee”, “worker,” and “self-employed”, Labour proposes to create a single employment status of “worker” and move towards a two-tier system of “worker” and “self-employed”.

6. Give employees the right to switch off

Due to the increase in employees working flexibly and often from home post pandemic, Labour proposes to give employees the right to switch off, so that working from home does not mean that homes turn into 24/7 offices.

To read more about Labour’s plans for employment rights, download Labour’s Plan To Make Work Pay (PDF).

For assistance and advice on any employment law matter, please get in touch with our approachable expert team.

Email Alice Bowman
Call our employment law team free on 0808 560 0872
Arrange a callback by using our enquiry form

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