With June the 8th General Election looming, Political Parties are reiterating their Manifestos in the hope of attracting Voters. By nature, these are large documents, and as such your key points of concern are not always easy to pinpoint. Below we have outlined where the two lead party’s stand in relation to Employment.
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced extensions to workers’ rights in the Conservative Party 11-point plan. The Conservative Manifesto promises to guarantee that workers will enjoy the same rights after Brexit as they do under the EU, as well as introducing new rights for “gig economy” workers and the self-employed, this could include paid paternity leave and maternity leave. May has also committed to increasing the Living Wage in line with earnings.
Mental Health is a Hot Topic, and the manifesto is promising to extend the Equality Act for those with mental health conditions. Although Mental health is covered under the Equality Act, the focus is on the effect of the problem rather than the diagnosis. Employees must show that their mental health condition is a disability for protection under the Equality Act showing that the problem has lasted at least 12 months, is likely to last 12 months, or is likely to recur. They must also be able to show that it has a substantial, adverse and long-term effect on activities.
Theresa Mays’s plan also focuses on training promising employees the statutory right to request leave for training as well as pledging extra training for mother’s returning to work after maternity leave. The Prime Minister has also announced that the Conservative Party would introduce a new right to care for the sick full-time. The new time off to care leave is likely to be similar to maternity leave, where workers can take between three months and two years off with the security that they will not lose their job as a result of this absence. This leave will, however, be unpaid.
The manifesto states that workers will be given improved rights to have representation on company boards this allowing that workers may be provided access to information and decisions concerning the future of the company.
In comparison to Teresa May’s 11 point plan, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has produced a manifesto including a 20 point plan for security and Equality at work. An increase in the living wage to £10 per hour by 2020, an end to the public sector pay gap and a ban on zero hour contracts of employment are amongst the plans put forward by the Labour party within the manifesto.
A cornerstone of the plan put forward by Corbyn includes the abolishment of the Trade Union Act and increasing the union’s presence within the workforce. This including providing unions with the right to access the workplace. This is described as a tool for providing greater protection to employees, they reason that Unions are protection and need to be re-introduced.
On the theme of protection labour also pledge to increase women’s rights, in particular women returning from maternity and facing a redundancy situation. The manifesto also outlines plans for increased 3rd party protection for employees. In recent years we have seen the introduction of shared maternity leave, labour pledge to take this one step further and double the paid statutory paternity time from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, this alongside an increase in statutory paternity pay. The manifest outlines that fathers are parents too and should be entitled to more time with their new child without suffering any detriment.
There is good news for the student within the Labour manifesto not only does Mr Corbyn pledge to abolish university fee’s he also outlines his intent to ban unpaid internships. This allowing that any business who chooses to hire an intern, for any period of time would have to satisfy the statutory requirements for minimum wage.
The Labour party has also pledged to abolish Tribunal fee’s, this, therefore, removing the detrimental cost to a disgruntled employee in raising a claim with the tribunal. Again this providing greater protection for the employee and enforcement of their rights.
However the vote sways on June 8th the policies presented by both parties seem exciting for the workers, but there is still a lot of uncertainty as to what this means for the Employers. What support and consultation will the Government offer to employers and small businesses? Will it offer financial compensation to ensure businesses can afford the increases due to the rise in the cost of the Living Wage and the impact coping with costs of recruitment and cover for job roles while employees are taking the new carers leave or training leave? Will the new policies have an impact on affordability, quality, and quantity of services offered? Will training and development be compromised and business continuity suffer? Only time will tell, and we can only wait for the full details and the result of the vote. We can then embrace, prepare and manage the change supporting our Customers to do the same.