5 July 2024
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The first 100 days: UK employment law reforms and what employers can expect

To The Point
(6 min read)

The Labour Party has set out a radical plan for employment law reform and now that it is in government it will need to turn election promises into reality.  In its manifesto, it repeated its pledge to introduce legislation within its first 100 days in office, but to consult fully on how to put its plans into action before legislation is passed.  We have set out the key employment reforms that the Labour Government is expected to introduce.   

The first 100 days

Labour's Plan to Make Work Pay (the New Deal) and its Manifesto contained a significant number of employment law reforms and we expect to see more details of their proposals and plans emerge in the coming weeks.  The King's Speech on 17 July 2024 is expected to introduce an Employment Rights Bill which will cover some of the issues outlined in the New Deal and manifesto in the lead up to the election.  Some of the planned reforms are expected to happen quite quickly while others will need more time for consideration and consultation.  

The short term

The new Government indicated in the New Deal that it intends to move quickly on some proposals including creating a single enforcement body and removing the lower earnings limit on statutory sick pay but acknowledges that some areas will take longer to review and implement.  Where primary legislation is not needed to put policies into effect, the Government will be able to act quickly to implement measures.  For example, on setting the level of the national minimum wage, the new Government has indicated it wants to change the Low Pay Commission's remit to take the cost of living into account. This will not need legislation to implement.  

The longer term

In the longer term, we can expect a full and detailed consultation on plans to move towards a single status of worker but, given the complexities in terms of both employment legislation and tax implications, we may not see those changes in the first parliamentary term. The New Deal also promised a review of parental leave in the first year of government so it may be some time before we have any details on those proposed reforms.  Similarly, proposals on zero hours contracts and fire and rehire are likely to require consultation before the details emerge and new rights for equal pay and pay gap reporting will also take some time to come to fruition.

As part of our series looking at the future for employment law and business immigration, we will bring you articles on national minimum wage reforms and trade union reforms, as well as expected changes to the immigration system.

What can employers expect?

Until we have more details of the Government's employment reform policies, there is not a great deal employers can do to prepare at this stage, but we should have a better idea over the course of the next few weeks as the Government put their first 100 days plan into action.  From what we do know, moving forward we can expect to see more tribunal claims, trade unions having greater involvement in industrial relations, recruitment and dismissals will be impacted and business reorganisations and outsourcing are likely to become more complex.

Government's key employment reform proposals:

Employment contracts
Day one rights
Parental rights
Employment rights
Employment status

To the Point 

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