News Updates

Employment law and the General Election

Thursday 25th May 2017

As the general election approaches, we review the employment law issues contained in the main political parties’ manifestos.


The Conservatives promise to bolster workers’ rights, with Theresa May describing the plans for workplace reform as the “greatest expansion in workers’ rights by any Conservative Government in history”.  The Manifesto, “Forward, Together”, includes the following pledges:

  • A year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative
  • Worker representation on boards of listed companies
  • Reducing net migration to the “tens of thousands”
  • Conversion of EU rights into UK law at the date of exiting the EU
  • Removing the requirement that mental health impairments must last for 12 months before qualifying as a disability under the Equality Act


Labour’s Manifesto, “For the many, not the few", sets out a 20 point plan to end the “rigged economy” in the workplace, which includes the following pledges:

  • Abolish ET fees
  • Repeal Trade Union Act, which came into force in March 2017
  • Increase TU rights
  • A clamp down on bogus self-employment
  • Full employment rights for all workers
  • Review statutory redundancy pay arrangements
  • Extend paid paternity leave to 1 month and increase the rate of pay
  • Ending zero-hours contracts
  • Introduce an “excessive pay levy”
  • A public sector maximum pay ratio of 20:1
  • Enforcement regime for gender pay reporting
  • Introduce 4 extra public holidays on the national patron saints' days
  • A ban on unpaid internships

Liberal Democrats

In their Manifesto, “Change Britain’s future, the Lib Dems pledge to “modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the gig economy”, with the following pledges:

  • Scrap ET fees
  • Extend transparency requirements on larger employers
  • Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts
  • Use of a “good employer” kite mark
  • Flexible working and shared parental leave to become day 1 rights

All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.