Election Manifestos – What’s being proposed in employment?

Election Manifestos – What’s being proposed in employment?

Changes to the way people work is a key talking point on a national level, but with the General Election less than three weeks away, how are the political parties addressing the issues arising? 

In this instalment of our manifesto comparison series, Thrings Partner Jeremy Nixon takes a look at some of the pledges being made that would impact the world of employment:


  • Overhaul the fit note process so that people are not being signed off sick as a default.
  • Accelerate the rollout of Universal Credit.
  • Maintain the National Living Wage in each year of the next Parliament at two-thirds of median earnings.
  • Raise the Skilled Worker threshold and Family income requirement with inflation automatically.


  • Repeal current anti-union legislation and replace this with a Charter of Workers’ Rights.
  • Introduce a maximum 10:1 pay ratios for all private and public-sector organisations.
  • Deliver equal rights for all workers currently excluded from protections, including ‘gig economy’ workers and those on ‘zero hours’ contracts from day one.
  • Every worker will have a right to access their data and to appeal management decisions.
  • Support reduced working hours and moving towards a four-day working week.


  • Ban zero-hour contracts and providing workers the right to a contract that reflects the numbers of hours they regularly work based on a 12-week reference period.
  • Make the right not to be unfairly dismissed a day one right, although employers will be permitted to operate probationary periods to assess new hires.
  • Further changes to flexible working regime to “ensure flexibility is a genuine default”.
  • Strengthen protections for pregnant women by making it unlawful to dismiss a woman who is pregnant for six months after her return to work (exceptions apply).
  • Introduce the “right to switch off” or disconnect to resolve the issue of blurred lines between work and home life.

Lib Dems

  • Give staff in listed companies with more than 250 employees a right to request shares, to be held in trust for the benefit of employees.
  • Establish a new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to unify responsibilities including enforcing the minimum wage, tackling modern slavery and protecting agency workers.
  • Expand parental leave and pay, including making them day-one rights.
  • Make Statutory Sick Pay available from the first day of missing work and expanding it to be available to workers earning less than £123 a week.
  • Modernise employment rights, including shifting the burden of proof in employment tribunals regarding employment status from individual to employer.


  • Lift the income tax starting threshold to £20k to save the lowest paid £1,500 per year.
  • The National Insurance rate will be raised to 20% for foreign workers – with the exception of essential foreign health and care workers.
  • Supporting sole traders by abolishing the IR35 or off-payroll working rules which make sure contract workers pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance as employees.
  • Imposing a requirement of five years residency and employment to claim any benefits in the UK.
  • Scrap thousands of laws including employment laws.

Jeremy Nixon, Partner in the Thrings Employment and Immigration team, said: “The wide variation in the employment law offerings made by the parties shows how political employment law is with  clear dividing lines between those seeking our votes.

“Labour’s proposal to make unfair dismissal a ‘day one’ right subject to probationary periods is particularly interesting and would be a significant change from the current two year wait employees have to accrue this right. A possible consequence might be employers taking ever more care with recruitment processes and decisions to make sure they hire candidates who are right for the job.

“Legislative changes will be preceded by consultation processes and businesses will need to keep their ears to the ground as to when these are taking place. The consultation processes are an opportunity for employers to make their views known. Whichever party prevails on 4 July, organisations will need to stay on the front foot so they can remain compliant with changes in legislation.”

Thrings’ Employment Team is experienced in dealing with business matters that affect the workforce, including workplace bullying, and has acted for both employers and employees from start-ups and SMEs all the way to multinational corporations across a wide range of employment matters. To find out how they can help strengthen your polices, and solve your disputes, please get in contact.

Thrings employment lawyers

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