Legal development

The UK election promises have now been made: What are the employment implications for employers?

Insight Hero Image

    The Conservatives and Labour have set out their stalls on what employers can expect in relation to employment changes if they win the General Election on 4 July.

    In this briefing we take a look at some of the key employment promises that the two main political parties have made.

    The Conservatives

    The Conservatives' employment policies are fairly thin on the ground. Apart from the headline grabbers on national insurance, the Conservatives plan to: 

    • overhaul the ‘fit note’ system when staff are off sick. Responsibility will be moved from GPs to other healthcare professionals and there will be testing to integrate this with the new WorkWell service to provide tailored support to help people stay in or get back to work;
    • continue implementing the Minimum Service Levels legislation by limiting the impact of industrial action on public services;
    • introduce primary legislation to clarify that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act 2010 means biological sex; and
    • maintain the National Living Wage in each year of the next Parliament at two-thirds of median earnings.


    In stark contrast if Labour forms the next government, it is going to be a very busy time for employers. Labour has ambitious employment plans which are primarily contained in their document Delivering A New Deal for Working People. Some particular focus areas for employers are:

    • a move away from the current status framework of employee and worker to a single status of worker with the corresponding extension of employment rights for all workers;
    • the removal of the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims, and there will also be day one rights for parental leave and sick pay. Probationary periods can still be used;
    • the ‘right to switch off’ for employees will be introduced. It is envisaged that workers and employers can work together on bespoke workplace policies or contractual terms regarding this right;
    • the publication of ethnicity and disability pay gaps will be made mandatory for employers with more than 250 staff. A Race Equality Act will be introduced for the full right to equal pay for Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority people;
    • the time limit within which employees can make an employment claim will be increased from three months to six months; 
    • amendments will be made to redundancy and TUPE, including strengthening redundancy rights, and determining the consultation by the number of people impacted across a business rather than in one workplace;
    • adjusting the minimum wage to be a 'genuine living wage'. This would include changing the remit of the Low Pay Commission to take into account the cost of living and removing the discriminatory age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage; and
    • strengthening trade union rights, for example repealing the Trade Union Act 2016, which placed a six-month time limit on the validity of strike ballots and introduced turnout requirements.

    Next steps for employers

    If the polls are correct and we see a change of government, Labour is proposing to introduce legislation within 100 days of taking government. This means that employers should start considering now which of their employment policies and procedures will need to be reviewed and amended. This will ensure that employers are ready to implement the necessary changes in good time.

    Further information

    For more information on any of the issues raised in this briefing, please speak to your usual Ashurst contact or to any of the people whose contact details are given below.

    Authors: Crowley Woodford, Partner; and Ruth Buchanan, Partner. 

    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


    Stay ahead with our business insights, updates and podcasts

    Sign-up to select your areas of interest