An Employment Perspective on the Election
15 May 2015 by Marketing Team
After the Conservative Party obtained an outright majority in the general election last Thursday our heads can begin to turn towards what the impact will be for employers looking to the future. Despite the Conservatives leading the coalition during government’s last term, it is very likely that large changes will occur this time around, but here we take a look at the most significant of those that have been promised.
Firstly, the Conservatives have promised an in/out referendum on EU membership by 2017, and have pledged commitment to a new British Bill of Rights which will repeal the current Human Rights Act. This will also render the European Court of Human Rights an advisory body only, with our Supreme Court becoming the ultimate authority. Although leaving Europe would not see all of our laws disappear, it would still have large repercussions within employment law and could mean employers having to implement workplace and contractual changes in order to satisfy new requirements.
The Conservatives have also committed to an increase in pay for low income workers, stating the National Minimum Wage will rise to £8 per hour by 2020. In keeping with the theme of improving employee rights, in particular those at the bottom of the pay scale, they intend to implement legislation rendering exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts as unlawful. This does, however, fall slightly short of what had been promised by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with both wanting to legislate to the effect of enabling zero-hours contracts to form fixed contracts, after a specified period of employment.
There have been multiple plans from the Conservatives to reform strike laws and these include; requiring a 50% majority in order to take a strike action; 40% of all eligible voters must cast a vote; a ban on using agency staff as temporary cover for strike workers; and the implementation of a time limit on the mandate of each ballot. These changes, though of importance, will inhibit both employers and employees at different stages of the strike process and so it will be interesting to see who will bear the brunt of these new laws if put into practice.
Other more miscellaneous proposals that are worth noting for employers include increasing free childcare for working parents of 3 to 4 year olds to 30 hours per week and requiring large companies to allow staff 3 paid days leave per year in order to undertake voluntary work. There is also a crackdown on migrant exploitation proposed by implementing a Modern Slavery Act.
With so many significant employment law changes potentially on the horizon, it is more important than ever to seek professional legal advice to prevent potential issues from arising. If you wish to find out more about proposed changes and the effect they may have on you as an employer or an employee, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Employment department here at Fisher Jones Greenwood. You can contact them by phoning 01245 890110, or emailing [email protected].