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Leaked draft Labour manifesto: Key employment law issues

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After the draft Labour party manifesto entitled "For the many not the few" was leaked to and published on the BBC website, we review the proposed far-reaching employment law reforms which Labour may implement if they were elected on the 08 June 2017.  Although the leaked manifesto was in ‘draft’ version and therefore could substantially change by Tuesday when the final version will be published, it gives us a reasonable insight into Labour’s approach with regards employment law reform and the proposals that could be implemented if Labour were to come into power.

Key reform proposals in the draft manifesto are as follows:

  1. Labour’s draft manifesto suggests a new ‘EU Rights and Protections Bill’ would be implemented, to ensure the preservation of worker rights ahead of  Brexit. Within the proposals, the draft talks about the modernisation of the law around employment status, with workers being granted the rights of employees, and a presumption of employee status would be implemented for all, with employer’s having the burden of proof to demonstrate otherwise. There is also the proposals for the introduction of new statutory definitions for different types of employment status, which Labour suggests would reduce the need for litigation on the issue.
  2. Employment tribunal fees to be abolished, which Labour say price people out of justice.
  3. There would be a 20 point "plan for security and equality at work" which it is proposed, amongst other things, would ban zero hours contracts and unpaid internships, end the public sector pay cap, repeal the Trade Union Act 2016 and introduce sectoral collective bargaining. Organisations bidding for public contracts would only be awarded contracts where they are able to demonstrate compliance with workers' rights, equal opportunities and for those that recognise trade unions. As part of this, it is proposed that The Takeover Code would be amended to ensure that every business takeover has a plan in place to protect both workers and pensioners.
  4. In respect of discrimination there are a number of proposals, including: paid paternity leave to be doubled from the current two weeks to four weeks, the limitation period for claims of maternity discrimination would be doubled from three to six months, there would be a reinstatement of the protection against third-party harassment, equal pay audits with reference to race would be introduced,  and Labour would consult on a proposed new protected characteristic of terminal illness. It is also proposed that there would be a civil enforcement regime to warrant compliance with the new gender pay gap reporting requirements.
  5. It is proposed to overturn the changes introduced by the 2014 TUPE Regulations, which Labour say weakened the protections for workers transferring between contractors.
  6. It is also proposed that the government consult on the proposal of statutory bereavement leave and also bringing redundancy protection more in line with current European regimes.


For further advice on this or any employment law issue, contact a member of the Chattertons Employment team.