Employment Law Changes To Look Out For Following Labour’s Election Win

Photo Credits: Adi Ulici via Unsplash

Following the results of the general election 2024, the Labour’s election win has been dubbed as a “landslide win”. New Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, has already given a rousing speech, confirming that changes will begin immediately.

Read on to find out more about the composition of our new government after Labour’s election win and what changes we can expect in the field of employment law.

Labour’s Election Win: What The New Government Looks Like

Key Moments

The general election 2024 has certainly seen numerous historic events. The Labour Party enjoyed a landslide win, now with 412 seats in the House of Commons – its highest number since Sir Tony Blair’s success in 1997.

The Liberal Democrats have gained its highest-ever number of seats in the House of Commons, with a total of 72. Conversely, the number of Conservative Party seats has fallen to an all-time low, at just 121.

Read: Labour Party’s New Deal Get Business Leaders Support

In addition, this general election 2024 has resulted in the most diverse parliament in history in terms of both gender and ethnicity. Around 263 female MPs were voted into parliament, and 87 ethnic minority candidates. On an individual basis, this general election has seen a surprising 12 cabinet members lose their seats, the highest number ever. Such falls from grace have included former Prime Minister Liz Truss, former Brexit Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, and former Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

Rishi Sunak Apologises and Takes Responsibility for Loss

In his final speech as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak apologised to the British public, thanked his fellow Conservatives for their efforts during the Tory rule, and endorsed his successor, Sir Keir Starmer.

Addressing the public, he said, “You have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change… and yours is the only judgement that matters.” Speaking of the new Prime Minister, he adds, “In this job, his successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well.”

Sir Keir Starmer, in his first speech as Prime Minister after Labour’s landslide win, spoke of his intention to return “politics to public service” following the Tory rule. He said, “Nurses, builders, drivers, carers, people doing the right thing, working harder every day, recognised at moments like this before, yet, as soon as the cameras stop rolling, their lives are ignored. I want to say very clearly to those people – not this time.”

Employment Law Changes Following Labour’s Election Win

The Labour Party promised a number of significant changes to employment law in its manifesto. A new Employment Bill may be on the way within the first 100 days after Labour’s election win, with further changes to follow thereafter.

But what exactly will these changes comprise?

Employee Rights

Certain changes to employment law will result in employees having earlier access to rights previously reserved for those with set periods of continuous employment.

For instance, whilst employers will still be entitled to implement “fair and transparent” probationary processes, protection from unfair dismissal will apply to employees from their first day of employment. This will also be the case with respect to parental leave and sick pay. Similarly, Labour intends to make flexible working the default position for all employees from day one, except where it is “not reasonably feasible”.

Read: “We Need a New Economic Plan”: TUC after Rise in Unemployment Rates

It is likely that employers will need to alter ways of working and create and implement new policies in certain areas. After Labour’s election win, it plans to introduce a “right to switch off”. Whilst not yet entirely clear, this is likely to entitle employees to turn off devices and maintain minimal contact outside of working hours. Labour also intends to entitle employees to broader bereavement leave rights. Employers with more than 250 employees will also be obliged to generate menopause action plans and support their employees through menopause.

Labour’s Election Win to Affect Employment Law Enforcement

Following Labour’s election win, it intends to form a “Fair Work Agency”. The main function of this new body will be to enforce employment law: investigating, sanctioning, and prosecuting employers who are in breach of employment laws in the UK. This was originally under the Tory rule, but now, Labour plans to see it through to fruition.

In addition, the Labour Party has proposed extending the current three-month limitation period on employment tribunal claims to six months. This will provide employees with more opportunities to bring claims against current and former employers.

Changes to Pay, Status and Security

The Labour Party has pledged to rethink the current national minimum wage, changing this to a genuine “real living wage” which will take into account the cost of living. There are also plans to remove the different age bands which presently apply to pay for adult workers. Further, the Labour Party intends to introduce legislation to achieve equal pay for ethnic minorities and disabled people.

Labour has vowed to simplify the question of employee status. Currently, there is some confusion between the statuses of “employee” and “worker” and the entitlements for each. Labour intends to reform associated legislation to create a single category of workers, thus clarifying the issue.

Read: Could Equal Pay Soon Encompass Race and Disability?

Further legislative changes following Labour’s election win include getting rid of zero-hours contracts, to provide greater security for employees. Moreover, the practice of “firing and rehiring”, whereby employers dismiss employees and then re-employ them on different contractual terms, may come to an end.


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