Labour’s Proposed Reforms to Employment Law

Caroline Cobain
Caroline Cobain
Legal Director
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In the run up to the general election on 4 July 2024, the Labour party have published a paper entitled “Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay” which has been referred to as “the new deal for working people”. The paper includes details of several significant proposed reforms to UK employment law, including to several family-friendly rights and the National Minimum Wage.

Some of the key proposals include:

  • Ending “one-sided flexibility”, limiting the use of zero hours contracts and toughening the law on fire and rehire.
  • Providing employees with the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim from day one of their employment, with possibly an exception for probationary periods.
  • Introducing a “single status of worker” and transitioning towards a two-part framework for employment status, consisting of workers and the self-employed (as opposed to the current three-part framework that consists of employees, workers and the self-employed).
  • Removing the lower earnings limit and three-day waiting period in relation to statutory sick pay.
  • Making it unlawful to dismiss a woman for six months after she has returned from her maternity leave, except in specific circumstances.
  • Implementing a “right to switch off”, which will limit an employer’s ability to require a worker to deal with work queries in their own time.
  • Ensuring that the National Minimum Wage is a “genuine living wage” by requiring it to take into account the cost of living.
  • Imposing a ban on all unpaid internships, except where they are part of an education or training course.
  • Making the obligation to collectively consult in redundancy situations dependent on the number of people impacted across the business rather than in one workplace.
  • Increasing the time limit within which employees can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal from three months to six months.

The paper states that the Labour party will endeavour to introduce legislation in Parliament within 100 days of entering Government, should they be elected on 4 July 2024.

The proposed changes, if implemented, will significantly change current UK employment law and generally impose much greater regulation and responsibilities on employers.

If you would like to discuss the proposed reforms, or if we can assist on any other employment law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0141 331 5150.

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