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Alan Price, Employment Law and HR Director of Peninsula comments on the Labour’s manifesto leak

Labour previously released a 20-point plan on how they would increase worker rights if they won the General Election on the 8th June. A leaked draft copy of their manifesto contains a whole section on worker rights so what should employers be aware of?

The draft manifesto incorporates the 20-point plan which aims to update the country’s employment policy and improve standards for workers. It contains measures including: banning zero hours contracts to ensure every worker has a guaranteed number of hours each week; raising the minimum wage for everyone to the level of the living wage; abolishing employment tribunal fees to increase access to justice; doubling paid paternity leave and introducing four new Bank Holidays to ensure workers are receiving adequate rest. Under this plan, employee rights would also be extended to all workers from day one of employment meaning there would be no two-tier employment rights system under Labour.

The draft manifesto contains measures that Labour believe will clamp down on bogus self-employment; a major issues that is being contributed to by the continued rise in ‘gig economy’ employers. Labour wish to introduce a new statutory definition of employment status, reducing tribunal litigation and increasing understanding as many employers struggle with current case law definitions and applying these to their workforce. They would also shift the burden of proof in proving status. This means that all workers would automatically be assumed to have employee status and the employer would have to take steps to prove otherwise.

Labour have, inevitably, used the draft manifesto to formally announce their intention to repeal the Trade Union Act and rollback the extra restrictions that have been placed on unions and strike action under this legislation. They would also guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces and roll out sectoral collective bargaining.

Other noteworthy announcements include the end to the public sector pay gap, imposing fines on employers who do not meet their obligations and making employment agencies have joint responsibility with end users to enforce agency worker rights.

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