New Labour Government – The Employment Law Implications

By Gary Smith


With yesterday’s comprehensive election win, Labour are now poised to form the new Government.  Whilst reams of newspaper and online articles have been generated during the election campaign, as the dust settles what can we expect to change in employment law over the course of the next Parliament?

The Labour manifesto stated it’s aim to implement Labour’s Plan To Make Work Pay.  The plan and the manifesto commits Labour to make a number of changes within the first 100 days of the new administration including;

  1. Introducing a day 1 right to;
    • Protection from unfair dismissal (subject to a possible carve out for ‘probationary periods’ – but how long an employer may allocate as a probationary period is unclear);
    • Sick pay;
    • Parental leave.
  1. Banning exploitative zero hours contracts and a right for employees to have a contract which reflects the hours they regularly work.
  2. Introducing a right to switch off whilst making flexible working a default right unless employers have a good reason to refuse it.
  3. Consulting on creating a single status of worker, incorporating all but the genuinely self-employed.
  4. Requiring employers with more than 250 employees to have a menopause action plan.
  5. A new requirement for large employers to produce ethnicity and disability pay gap reports similar to the current obligation to publish gender pay gap data
  6. Making collective redundancy consultation requirements dependent on the number of redundancies across the whole business rather than the number at each ‘establishment.
  7. A requirement for the employment contract issued to all new starters to inform staff of their right to join a trade union.
  8. Reversal of the changes made under the Trade Union Act 2016 and abolishing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 along with various other changes to trade union legislation including;
    • Removing the requirement for fully postal ballots for industrial action;
    • Making it easier for unions to gain recognition by removing the requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote on recognition need to vote in a ballot for it to be valid for recognition;
    • A right for trade unions to access workplaces for recruitment and organising purposes.
  1. Introducing a right to unpaid bereavement leave (currently only available following the death of a child).
  2. Ending fire and rehire.
  3. Altering national minimum wage rules including removing age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.

Labour have also indicated that they will extend the time limits for bringing claims in the Employment Tribunal from 3 months to 6 months to give employees greater chance to enforce their rights.

These are significant changes to the legal landscape, the biggest of which will be the change to the rules relating to unfair dismissal protection.  Whilst it seems unlikely that all of these changes can come in so quickly, it is clear that there are going to be many rapid changes in the legal rights and obligations of employers and employees over the coming months and years.

If you have any questions relating to the upcoming changes and what they mean for you or your business please do get in touch with our Employment Team on 0345 646 0406 or complete an online enquiry form, and a member of the team will be in touch.