May 29, 2024

Shaping the Future: How the 2024 Summer Elections Could Transform Employment Law

This post was written by: Riya Sekhon

On 22nd May 2024, Rishi Sunak made a statement outside Downing Street, announcing a general election will take place on 4th July 2024.

As the summer elections approach, employers and employees are keenly watching the potential shift in employment law that could follow. Here’s a look at some of the key changes the Labour Party and the Conservative Party aim to make.

The Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has promised to make their “New Deal for Working People” a central aspect of their plan for government if it wins the election.  Their key plans for this are likely to include the following:

  • Ban on zero-hour contracts and rights to regular, and secure, working hours;
  • More day one employment rights, including rights not to be unfair dismissed (currently there is a 2 year qualifying period in most cases);
  • Restrictions of “fire and re-hire” used by employers in the past;
  • Strengthen statutory sick pay;
  • New rights for unions to access workplaces;
  • Enhanced rights to flexible working;
  • Right to disconnect from work – preventing employers from contacting staff outside working hours;
  • Repeal of anti-strike laws;
  • Review of shared parental leave;
  • More regulation of AI; and
  • Replacing the UK’s three-part framework for employment rights with a simpler two-part framework with just workers and the self-employed.

It is reported that an employment bill has already been drafted and is waiting in the wings and Labour has stated they will begin the legislative process in the first 100 days (which means by 12th October 2024) although that could just mean the White Paper.

The Conservative Party, led by Rishi Sunak, has so far stated very little about their plans for employment law, but it is safe to assume that the aim will be deregulatory, due to their emphasis on “smarter regulation to grow the economy”. Their key plans for employment law are likely to include the following:

  • Re-introduce employment tribunal fees;
  • A cap on the duration of non-complete clauses in employment contracts; and
  • Provision of enhanced paternity leave for fathers whose partner dies in childbirth.

It is unclear what will happen with the Workers Act 2023, which gives employees a right to request a more predictable contract. This Act was due to come into force in Autumn 2024 and has already made its way onto the statute book, however, it requires further regulations to flesh out the details of the new rights and bring them to force.

The 2024 summer general elections hold the potential to bring about significant changes in employment law. While the Labour Party aims to enhance employee rights, the Conservative Party aims to foster economic growth through deregulation. The outcome of this election will determine the direction of employment law, influencing the working conditions of millions across the country as well as the economic future of many businesses throughout the UK.  So, your vote really will count and we encourage everyone to have their say.

Voting can be done in person at the polling stations of 4th July 2024 between 7am and 10pm. Make sure you take valid photo ID. Once voting closes at 10pm, an exit poll will be announced. This is a survey of in-person voters taken at a sample of approximately 150 constituencies in the UK.  

Alternatively, you can vote by post if getting to a polling station is difficult for you.  The government are encouraging all those who wish to do so, to apply as soon as possible to ensure applications are dealt with in plenty of time. 

To apply to vote by post, simply visit