A new deal for working people – Labour Party proposals

by | May 21, 2024 | News

With the political parties’ full steam ahead for the General Election, it’s looking likely that the  Labour Party will be successful. They have published a Green Paper A New Deal for Working  People – The Labour Party which they plan to implement within 100 days.  

The Labour Party are known for, in their own words, “being the Party not just of working  people but for working people” so what do the proposed changes look like? 

Pay. 

By changing the Low Pay Commission’s remit so that the minimum wage will for the first time reflect  the need for working people’s pay to at least cover the cost of living.  

Creating a Fair Pay Agreement in social care which will establish minimum terms and conditions that  are binding for employers and workers in the care sector.  

One Single Status of Worker. 

The Labour Party proposes a single “worker” status, except for the self-employed, to simplify  employment categories in the UK. Currently, there are three categories: “employee,” “worker,” and  “self-employed contractor,” each with different rights and protections. The employment rights and  protections that an individual is entitled to will depend on their employment status, with employees  entitled to the widest range of rights. 

Ban Zero hours contracts. 

Labour were initially looking to ban zero hours contracts to ensure all jobs have a minimum level of  security and provide reasonable notice for any changes in shifts and working hours. However, they have recently weakened their stance on this by opting for flexibility rather than a complete ban.  

They are also proposing to put an end to the fire and rehire procedure. This procedure is known as  part of a consultation process where an employee does not agree to the amended terms and  conditions proposed by the employer. Currently an employer can terminate the existing terms and re engage on the new terms.  

Day one rights. 

The proposal is to give all workers day one rights, this means removing the 2-year qualifying criteria  for unfair dismissal claims, sick pay and parental leave. 

They plan to focus on and tackle bogus self-employment and ensure rights and protections for those  who are genuinely self-employed.

Removing the cap on compensation limits. 

The Green Paper outlines the proposal that all workers should receive full compensation if they suffer  a loss because of an employer’s breach of the law. Their proposal is to remove the current cap on  compensation which is £115,115 or 52 weeks pay whichever is the lower. 

Extend the time for bringing claims to an Employment Tribunal & Directors  (Current/past) to be liable for unpaid tribunal awards. 

We don’t think the above needs any further explanation …. 

The right to disconnect. 

Labour will bring in the right to switch off and introduce new rights where workers are protected from  remote surveillance. This will also include limitations of when employers can contact workers when  not at work or in working hours.  

Stronger family-friendly rights. 

The proposal is to extend statutory maternity and paternity leave, introducing the right to  bereavement leave and strengthening protections for pregnant women by making it unlawful to  dismiss a woman who is pregnant for six months after her return, except in specific circumstances. 

A Labour Government would also review parental leave within the first year of a Labour Government,  including the failed shared Parental leave system. 

The Labour party also intend to revie the Flexible working provisions, which as you may be aware have  just been amended. However, they are intending to further enhance the rights of the employee making  the request. 

Update trade union legislation so it is fit for a modern economy. 

The Labour Party aims to repeal anti-trade union laws like the Trade Union Act 2016 to enhance  workers’ rights. They plan to empower trade unions with easier workplace access and modern  balloting methods to simplify union recognition. 

Strengthen the law to enforce workplace rights. 

Labour will establish and properly fund a single enforcement body to enforce workers’ rights. The new  body will be given extensive powers to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil  proceedings on workers’ behalf relating to minimum wage violations, worker exploitation, and  discriminatory practices.

Action To Close Gender, Ethnicity and Disability Pay Gaps 

The Green Paper proposes mandatory publication of ethnicity pay gaps for firms with over 250 staff to  mirror gender pay gap reporting. The Labour Party has also set out additional proposals regarding  changes to the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act). 

As you can see, there are a significant number of changes proposed and we are certainly expecting to  be kept busy in HR if even half of the proposals are put through. Now more than ever employers need  to be more proactive in the legal obligations and responsibilities. Review your current policies and  practices and enlist Spire HR to support you with any changes required.  

For more information on any of the above, please contact the Spire HR Team.

 

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