Labour Government & HR Changes

10 July 2024 | Blog

The election is a hot topic currently, with many businesses wondering how a Labour Government will impact their business operations.

Having recently attended the excellent Breathe HR post-election webinar, we’ve put together an article on this subject. Capturing some of the main questions we have had from our team and clients.

A change in government will almost always bring a mixture of new opportunities and new challenges for SMEs. Let’s take a look at how you can prepare accordingly for any possible changes.

Commitment to Businesses

The new Labour Government appears to be demonstrating a commitment to developing a supportive and welcoming environment for all businesses. This is encouraging for SMEs, who are facing an upcoming period of growth. Notably, this change in attitude will come in over a long period of time, and not overnight. The first 100 days of the new government will set the tone for the future landscape, but don’t view this as a deadline for all changes mentioned within their manifesto.

Day One Rights

Labour are keen to improve employment rights, by making some specific employment rights a day-one right – including the right to request a flexible working pattern. What does this mean for the world of HR?

Some of your documents may need reviewing, such as bereavement, carer’s & parental leave documents (more on this further down the article). We’re happy to take a look at any documents and/or policies you have, and chat you through the best approach to ensuring you are ready for any employment rights changes.

Be Ready to Adapt

New, incoming policies will mean that businesses have to adapt appropriately to these changes. For instance, employee management may become more challenging as you make the relevant changes to your business operations. It is imperative that SMEs stay informed of any upcoming changes and the impact they may have on them. If you have any queries about any upcoming changes, we are always more than happy to support you on this.

Change for the Positive

These changes can present the perfect opportunity for businesses to improve their workplace environments. As an employer, you should always strive for improvements. Creating supportive workplaces encourages a positive workplace culture, and you will reap the rewards, such as attracting and retaining the top talent and improved business performance.

Zero-Hour Contracts

Zero-hour contracts tend to be a topical issue. Labour are set to make some changes to zero-hour contracts. Notably, they want to ensure that all employees, who are currently on a zero-hour contract, have the right to a standard contract. Please note, this only applies to employees who are:

  • Currently on a zero-hour contract
  • Regularly work 12 hours or more on a weekly basis

The Mental Health Act

Labour are keen to modernise and enhance the Mental Health Act – something which has been accelerated due to the affect the COVID pandemic had on the population’s general mental health. You have a responsibility, as an employer, to provide robust mental health support to your employees, including provisions for menopause support. Click here to find out more about Menopause in the Workplace. Further to this, Labour is aiming to reduce the average wait time for a mental health appointment by recruiting an additional 8,500 mental health support workers.

Employment Tribunal Update

Labour are planning to make a number of updates surrounding employment tribunals. Labour are making unfair dismissal claims a day-one right, meaning that there will no longer be a qualifying period for claims like this. It is also possible that Labour will remove any caps on awards given in employment disputes. 

The Equality Act

Labour are seeking to enhance The Equality Act to include more protected characteristics, providing employees with further security rights. In addition, Labour is considering introducing dual-discrimination rights – providing the right for a claimant to bring a claim if they have been the victim of discriminatory treatment because they have two qualifying protected characteristics. You can find out more about dual-discrimination here.

Carer and Bereavement Leave Review

Labour is intending to make some changes to the current carer and bereavement leave policies. One such change is making bereavement leave statutory. Furthermore, Labour is seeking to change the law surrounding carer’s leave – with the aim of making this one-week paid rather than one-week unpaid. Again, it is important to note that these changes, if made, will take time to implement. You can read more about employees’ rights surrounding leave here.

The Labour government is still early into their tenure, but changes will be made over time. As an employer you can use these changes to your benefit. You can stay informed on any upcoming changes in the HR world by following us on our social media platforms. We are always happy to chat about any concerns you have, and how we can support you on these.

 

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