Employment Issues and the General Election – what next?
With the General Election only 2 weeks away we look at what might be in store for changes in the employment law arena from the 3 main parties.
The Conservatives are heralding a “flexible, effective and fair “ labour market with light touch policies. This will include stripping away the so called “gold plating” of EU directives, more effective use of sunset clauses which laws cease to have effect after a given date, and increasing the one –in, one-out principles which reduce regulation and red tape. The Tories will seek to continue reduced usage of Employment Tribunals and using ACAS as an alternative to litigation as well as increasing apprenticeship vacancies. They will also speed up justice in the criminal courts and new communications data legislation will strengthen the ability of authorities to disrupt terrorist plots, criminal networks and child-grooming gangs.
Labour seek to create more secure high-paid, high-skill jobs by preventing undercutting of labour costs and lower wages and reversing the so-called “race to the bottom”. Labour will seek to ban zero hour contracts, take action to stop agency workers being used to undercut the wages of permanent employees, and raise the minimum wage to £8 per hour before 2020. They will also reform the Tribunal system to allow all workers access to justice by abolishing fees in Tribunals and via a Small Business Administration will seek to give help for small business. In the criminal law arena they will abolish Police and Crime Commissioners and replace cautions for low level crime with “payback orders”.
The Liberal Democrats’ main employment promises are to review the legal aid system and the current Tribunal fees structure which has caused a huge reduction in Tribunal claims and possibly denied many employees access to justice. They will seek to ensure zero hour contracts are fair and not abused by unscrupulous employers, and will seek to extend parental leave for fathers with a use it or lose it policy meaning it cannot be transferred to the mother.
Given the possibility of a hung Parliament with the SNP playing a role, it is notable that their employment policies UK wide have not been widely publicised. However, it is of little surprise that they are “committed to creating jobs and opportunities for Scots old and new”.
23 April 2015