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5th Jun, 2024

Marina Elia
Marina Elia
Job Title

Note to readers: article originally published 5 June 2024 but was updated 17 June 2024.

Rishi Sunak revealed that the nation will head to the polls on Thursday, July 4. For businesses, the election results will have significant implications when it comes to employment law, depending on which party wins.

The main political parties have made big for employment law and what a new government in Downing Street could mean for businesses. Both Conservative and Labour acknowledge the need for reform in certain areas, including strengthening regulations related to fire and rehire practices and enhancing predictability of working hours.

While it is probable that reforms will occur in these areas regardless of the election outcome, the specific approaches taken may vary. To make sure you have all the facts, here’s what we know so far…


Halfway through the year and 2024 has already been a big year of change.

Ten new employment laws have been introduced and taken affect and the Conservative Party have promised even more change in a bid to woo back voters. The Conservative Party’s 2024 manifesto outlines several proposals aimed at employers and employees, with a focus on maintaining a balanced regulatory environment, supporting business practices, and protecting workers’ rights.

If the Conservatives win re-election the changes that have already been promised will continue as planned:

  • Preventing sexual harassment: A greater duty will be placed on employers to demonstrate they have taken steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Neonatal care leave: Parents of children receiving neonatal care will have a new right to take up to 12 weeks of leave.

  • Irregular hours workers: Workers who work irregular or unpredictable hours will be able to make a formal request for a more predictable working pattern.

  • TUPE: Employers with fewer than 50 employees will no longer need to appoint employee representatives when they consult about TUPE transfer (and neither will larger employers if fewer than 10 employees are to be transferred).

Proposed bills related to bereavement during paternity leave, bullying, fertility treatment, and unpaid trial work periods are currently under consideration in parliament. However, with the election fast approaching these bills will only become law if they are reintroduced by the next government.


The Labour Party’s Manifesto included a pledge to implement ‘Labour’s plan to make work pay: delivering a new deal for working people’, in full.

The party recognises the advancements made by the current government and express their commitment to furthering these changes rather than opposing them. They have also pledged to bring these changes within 100 days of taking office.

These are some of the areas of change that business owners should be aware of should Labour win the election:

Labour’s plans to improve worker’s rights include:

  • Statutory Sick Pay: Available to all workers by removing the lower pay limit and waiting period.

  • Rights from day one: Sick pay, parental leave, and protection from unfair dismissal.
    Pregnant workers and new mothers: Making it unlawful to dismiss a woman who is pregnant for six months after her return, except in specific circumstances.

  • Flexible working: The default from day one, with employers required to accommodate this as far as is reasonable.

  • Fair minimum pay: Reflect the cost of living in minimum pay and remove age bands to ensure equal rights for everyone.

  • Right to switch off: Introducing a right to switch off (or, at the very least, the right to discuss switching off with your employer).

Labour’s proposed new duties for employers include:  

  • Ethnicity and disability pay gaps: Employers would be required to report on ethnicity and disability pay gaps, including outsourced workers in pay gap reporting.

  • Gender pay gap and menopause support: Employers to create action plans to close the gender pay gap and provide support for women going through menopause.

  • Preventing sexual harassment: Employers would need to take all reasonable steps to create and maintain workplaces and working conditions free from harassment.

  • Carers leave: Recognising that new legislation for unpaid carers' leave was introduced in April 2024, Labour will review the implementation of this policy and examine all the benefits of introducing paid carers’ leave, while being mindful of the impact of any changes on small employers.

Labour’s plans to help enforce employee’s rights:  

  • Single status of worker: To combine the categories of worker and employee to simplify the system, ensuring more workers have basic rights. This would mean that workers would be afforded the same basic rights and protections as employees around sick pay, holiday pay, parental leave, protection against unfair dismissal, etc.

  • Enforcement: Establish a single body responsible for enforcing workers’ rights, with powers to bring civil proceedings.

  • Extended claim time limit: Increase the time limit to bringing employment tribunal claims to six months and removing the compensation caps.

  • Facilitated collective grievances: Labour will make it easier for employees to collectively raise grievances about conduct in their place of work, to ACAS.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have unveiled their 2024 election manifesto, titled ‘For a fair deal’. In the manifesto, the party outlines their plans to reform sick pay, replace the apprenticeship levy and establish a new employment status. The key employment pledges that have been made are:

  • Parental pay: Doubling statutory maternity and shared parental pay to £350 a week and introducing an extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings.

  • Day one right: Making flexible working and parental leave and pay a day-one right.
    Training: Encouraging businesses to invest in training, take up digital technologies and become more energy efficient, including through the party’s industrial strategy and reform of business rates.

  • Zero hours contracts: A Liberal Democrats government would establish a right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months for zero-hours and agency workers.

  • Minimum wage: Setting a 20% higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts at times of normal demand to compensate them for the uncertainty of fluctuating hours of work.

  • Shares: Encouraging employers to promote employee ownership by giving staff in listed companies with more than 250 employees a right to request shares, to be held in trust for the benefit of employees.

What’s next?

The promises laid out by the main political parties regarding employment law in the upcoming UK general election 2024 showcase the diverse approaches and priorities each party brings to the table.

From the Conservative Party’s emphasis on reducing regulations to encourage business growth, to the Labour Party’s focus on worker’s rights and fair wages, and the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to balancing flexibility with protection, voters face a crucial decision that will shape the future landscape of employment in the UK.

As citizens prepare to cast their ballots, they must carefully consider which vision aligns best with their values and aspirations for the future. Whatever the outcome, the chosen direction will undoubtedly have significant implications for employers, employees and the broader economy.

If you are looking to take that next step in your career or searching for a talented professional to join your organisation, get in touch with one of our specialist recruiters today.