Chattertons Solicitors Banner Image
News and Events

How will the General Election impact Employment Law?

View profile for Martin Cornforth
  • Posted
  • Author

A general election is to be held in the UK on 4 July 2024. In this update we provide details of the main employment law policies being pursued by each of the three main parties. The policies listed below are not an exhaustive list.

General election 2024: Labour Party

The Labour Party are proposing more extensive changes to employment law then the two other main parties. On 24th May 2024 the Labour Party published “A New Deal for Working People”, setting out proposals to significantly reform UK employment laws. Labour plans to introduce an employment bill within its first 100 days in office.

Unfair dismissal rights from day one:

Labour plan to mandate "basic individual rights" from day one for all workers, "ending the current arbitrary system that leaves workers waiting up to two years to access basic rights of protection against unfair dismissal, parental leave and sick pay."

The rationale for the two-year service limit is that employers may be deterred from recruiting staff if there is a risk of an unfair dismissal claim. Labour has indicated that it will protect an employer's right to require a probation period but we do not currently have much detail on what employers will be permitted to do. Presumably employers won't be permitted to extend probation periods for two years!

Extension of time limits:

Labour confirmed that the time limit to bring an employment tribunal claim will be increased from three to six months. Currently the only claim with a time limit of six months is a statutory redundancy payment.

Single status of worker:

For employment rights an individual providing services may be an employee, worker or self-employed. Currently those with worker status have limited employment rights, however Labour would like to reduce the three-tiered system to two categories of employed and self-employed. This could mean an increase in individuals with employment rights, however the proposal is subject to consultation and the detail is currently lacking.

Redundancy and TUPE rights:

Labour plans to enhance collective consultation by ensuring the right to redundancy consultation is determined by the number of people impacted across the business (20 or more) rather than in one workplace.

Labour says it will "strengthen the existing set of rights and protections for workers subject to TUPE processes," without providing nay specific details.

Restricting use of zero-hours contracts:

Labour's commitment to banning zero hours contracts appears to have been watered down. Although employers would be required to offer a contract based on regular hours worked, a worker could opt to stay on a zero hours contract, with minimum standards to ensure they were not "abused".

End ‘fire and rehire’:

Labour is committed to ending the practice of terminating an employee's contract and then offering re-engagement on reduced terms. Labour accepts that, when there is genuinely no alternative, businesses must be able to restructure to remain viable. However, it considers this "must follow a proper process based on dialogue and common understanding between employers and workers." Nonetheless it appears that it will be more difficult for employers to change terms and conditions if this policy proceeds. Labour's manifesto suggests that consultation will take place regarding this policy.

Flexible working a day one right:

Currently workers only have the right to request flexible working but employers have a broad discretion in refusing such requests. Labour would make flexible working the default from day one for all workers, except where it is not reasonably feasible. On the face of it this would reduce the ability of employers to refuse flexible working requests.

Right to ‘switch off’:

Labour plan to introduce a new "right to switch off" allowing employees to disconnect outside of working hours and not being contacted by their employer. At this stage it appears that statutory guidance would be "non-binding." It appears that employees would have a right to request this but that employers won't necessarily be required to consent, as is currently the case with a request for flexible working.

Trade Union rights:

Labour plans to repeal certain restrictions on balloting and picketing, particularly those introduced recently.

The process for unions obtaining "recognition" by an employer would be simplified, Labour will remove the requirement for a union to show that at least 50% of workers are likely to support recognition and modernise the rules for the final ballot where workers vote on recognition of a trade union.

Trade unions would have a right to access workplaces, governed by a transparent framework, designed in consultation with unions and business, to allow union officials to meet, represent, recruit and organise members.

Labour would introduce a new duty on employers to inform all new employees of their right to join a union and to remind all staff on a regular basis. This will be required as part of the written contract of employment that all new workers are entitled to.

Facilities time will be strengthened for all trade union representatives to ensure capacity to represent and defend workers, negotiate with employers, and train.

Strengthened Statutory Sick Pay:

Labour propose strengthening statutory sick pay (SSP) by removing the lower earnings limit to make it available to all workers and remove the waiting period. Labour would also ensure the new system provides fair earnings replacement for people earning below the current rate of SSP.

Equal pay reporting:

The publication of ethnicity and disability pay gaps will be made mandatory for employers with more than 250 staff, to mirror gender pay gap reporting. Large employers will be required to include outsourced workers extend in gender pay gap reporting and to publish and implement action plans to close the gap.


Large employers with more than 250 employees will be required to produce Menopause Action Plans, setting out how they will support employees through the menopause.


Labour will enable employees to collectively raise grievances about conduct in their place of work with Acas. This will be in line with the existing code for individual grievances.

General election 2024: Conservative Party


The Conservatives would fund 100,000 more apprenticeships in England every year by the end of the next Parliament, paid for by closing university courses in England with poor outcomes for students.

Diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI):

The Conservative Party manifesto states that "biological sex is a reality". To protect female-only spaces, primary legislation would be introduced clarifying that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act 2010 means biological sex.

National Service:

All school-leavers aged 18 would be required to undertake mandatory National Service. There would be a choice between a paid competitive placement in the armed forces or cyber defence, or carrying out the equivalent of one weekend a month (25 days a year) volunteering in the community for a year.


The Conservative Party manifesto states that currently 94% of fit notes certify individuals as not fit for work. The new system would remove responsibility for issuing fit notes from GPs and instead allocate this responsibility to specialist work and health professionals. It would be integrated with the new WorkWell service to provide tailored support to help people stay in or return to work.

Employment tribunal fees:

The Conservative Party whilst in government has proposed a "modest" £55 issue fee for all employment tribunal claims, except claims for payment from the National Insurance Fund, and an appeal fee of £55 for each judgment or decision being appealed.

General election 2024: Liberal Democrats


The Liberal Democrats would:

  • Replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader and more flexible skills and training levy.
  • Guaranteeing that apprentices are paid at least the national minimum wage by removing the lower apprentice rate.

Carers and caring:

Caring would become a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and employers would be required to make reasonable adjustments to enable employees with caring responsibilities to provide that care.

The Liberal Democrats would introduce paid carer's leave and a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks.

Employment status:

The Liberal Democrats would establish a new "dependent contractor" status, in between employment and self-employment, with entitlements to basic rights (for example, minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement).


The Liberal Democrats would require large employers to monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps and progression, and publish five-year diversity targets.

Family-friendly rights:

The Liberal Democrats would introduce paid neonatal care leave, enhance paternity leave, and make all parental pay and leave day-one rights.

Statutory sick pay:

SSP would be made available to all workers earning less than £123 a week. In addition, the rate of SSP would be aligned with the national minimum wage. SSP would be payable from the first day of the absence.


The Liberal Democrats would Set a 20% higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts at times of normal demand to compensate them for the uncertainty of fluctuating hours of work.


If you are an employer, or employee who needs guidance, we are here to help.  Please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Law Team on 01522 814638, or make an enquiry here.