What Does a Conservative Victory Mean for Employment Law?

Ben McCarthy

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17 Dec 2019

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In light of the significant Conservative victory last week, we now have more certainty surrounding expected developments to employment law over the next few years. These are set out below.

Brexit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains committed to leaving the EU by 31 January 2020 and employers need to be ready for this. It should be noted that a new trade agreement between the UK and the EU still needs to be negotiated at this current time; a Brexit deal now therefore does not necessarily avoid the prospect of a no-deal Brexit by December 2020.

Immigration

Post-Brexit, a new Australian style points-based immigration system has been proposed which will treat EU nationals and non-EU nationals equally and permit them entry to the country where they meet the criteria.

Minimum wage

As previously announced, National Living Wage rates are expected to increase to £10.50 per hour by 2024, with the age threshold incrementally lowered to 23+ in 2021 and finally 21+ by 2024.

Family/ carer friendly

Neo-natal leave will be introduced for parents, extending maternity and paternity leave where new born children are poorly and must stay in hospital. There will be a weeks’ extra leave for every week in hospital, where the stay is two weeks or longer.

Additionally, those with caring responsibilities are expected to get a right to a week off work, access to paternity leave will be made easier and flexible working will be made the ‘default arrangement’ unless employers have good reasons not to.

Pregnant women and new parents are to be provided extra protection during redundancy procedures.

Training/ Skills

A new £3bn ‘National Skills Fund’ has been promised, which is designed to help organisations find and hire the workers they need. The Conservative manifesto also mentioned making improvements to the apprenticeship levy.  

Single enforcement body

A single enforcement body has previously been announced to crack down on any employer abusing employment law. This is to include enforcement of plans to prevent employers from keeping any part of workers’ tips.

Unstable work

Zero hours workers and others with variable working patterns are to be given the right to request a more stable contract, the right to minimum notice of shifts and to compensation for cancelled shifts.

Good Work Plan

Employers should also remember that other Good Work Plan promises are also still in the pipeline, including:

  • A review of the employment status framework to add clarity
  • Measures to make it easier for ad hoc employees to accrue continuous service

The changes to statements of main terms will also continue as planned for 6th April, as will the all other previously confirmed changes.

Expert support

Contact Croner for further advice on employment law changes. Call us today on 0800 880 7263.

About the Author

Ben McCarthy works as a content writer for Croner producing commentary and guidance on employment law and key HR developments. Coming from an extensive legal background, Ben regularly constructs key training materials for clients and advisers, and provides daily contributions to national publications.

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