What does the general election result mean for UK employment law?
The conservative party’s surprise election win which enables them to govern with a working majority is good news for many employers and business orientated organisations in the UK. Already there have been moves to introduce legislation that will affect UK employment law. Here we take a look at what can be expected from the new conservative government in terms of new legislation impacting on UK employment law.
Restricting Trade Union Strikes
Already the government has this week made its intentions clear in that it wants to make it much more difficult for trades unions to strike. The proposal is that trades unions will be required to get a majority vote in a strike ballot and at least a 40% turnout of those entitled to vote. Currently a strike is valid if a simple majority vote results. The government also proposes to increase the time limit for notifying strike action from 7 t0 14 days. These proposals will make it much more difficult to strike in core public sector arenas for example public transport and fire brigade services.
The Employment Tribunal Fee System
The government proposes to retain the existing fee system introduced in July 2012 and they are committed to reviewing the legal aid system to ensure that it is efficient. The current system has had a dramatic effect on the number of employment tribunal claims that are being made.
The government proposes an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017. This is likely to happen if the government is unable to secure new terms of membership for the UK especially in relation to areas like immigration and welfare benefits. UK employment laws are heavily influenced by the EU and therefore an exit from the EU could have a significant impact on UK employment laws.
In their manifesto the conservative part wanted to introduce three days paid volunteering leave for staff working for private sector organisations that have more than 250 employees and also the wider public sector. There has been no further news on this and smaller employers are likely to be exposed to an additional cost unless the government is prepared to pay.
Abolishing the Human Rights Act
The government has maintained its commitment to abolishing the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights. This will remove the link between the UK Courts and the European Courts of Human Rights which have for example made it much more difficult to deport foreign nationals living in the UK.
Equal Pay reporting
The government in is election manifesto stated that it will require employers with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees to promote gender equality in the workplace. The previous administration wanted this to be a voluntary arrangement. Interestingly these proposals were also introduced by the previous labour government.
The National Minimum Wage
The government has committed to rises in the National Minimum Wage and have suggested £8 per hour by 2020. The current hourly rate is £6.70
The government has expressed its wish to halve the disability employment gap to ensure that more disabled employees can find employment. It will be interesting to see how this can be achieved.
The conservative party election manifesto has made a commitment to introducing additional tax free child care support of up to 30 hours per week for the working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
The government is also committed to creating over three million new apprenticeships which if successful will also improve unemployment statistics.
Zero Hours Contracts
There is no commitment to banning these contracts but the conservative election manifesto commits to banning the use of exclusivity clauses which prevents employees from working elsewhere.
In summary the new government is promising a mixed bag of legislative changes relating to employment law. The most far reaching changes will be felt by outcome of the EU referendum and also any UK Bill of Rights. It is simply going to be a case of watch this space on much of the timing and detail of these proposals.
If you would like more information on how these Employment changes affect you, speak to our Employment Solicitor, Steven Eckett on 020 7998 7777 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.