May 1, 2015

Employment Law and the Elections

This post was written by: Ilinca Mardarescu

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With the election approaching and canvassing in full swing, employment law has been a hot topic for all parties.  The Labour Party has published its Work Manifesto entitled ‘A Better Plan for Britain’s Workplaces’.  In it, Labour state they will be abolishing the zero hours contracts culture by allowing workers who have worked regularly for 12 weeks to demand a ‘regular’ contract. The Conservatives have pointed out that only a very small majority of people are on such contracts and indeed some welcome the flexibility they offer. Labour have also stated they want to scrap the current Employment Tribunal fee system but have implied it will be replaced with something else (a move which will be popular with the many legal professionals who have voiced concerns over the Tribunal fee system – depending on what it will be replaced with!).

The Liberal Democrats have opted for the parents’ vote, or rather fathers in particular, by stating they want to triple paid paternity leave to six weeks rather than the current two. According to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, this move could cost an estimated £58 million but whether prospective fathers will be concerned about that is yet to be seen.

Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives have so far been backed by business leaders for the corporation tax cuts which have been implemented steadily for the past few years.  The Conservatives have concentrated on improving job prospects and ploughing money into the workforce generally by promising to triple loans for start-ups and use the money saved on benefits caps to fund apprenticeships. That along with their promise to raise the level at which tax kicks in for both the basic and higher rate earners may well prove popular with a broader range of employees.  Whichever party wins the next election, one thing is clear, employers and employees alike will be affected in some way.