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How will Labour’s employment law changes impact your business?

What impact will Labour's employment manifesto have on your business?

With the election bringing us a new Labour government, we’re expecting many changes to workers’ rights in the UK.

Back in May, the Labour party published a plan that set out their agenda for if they were to win the election. In their manifesto, they promised to implement every piece of this agenda as a priority, delivering a new Employment Bill within their first 100 days in government.

With over 30 key employment law reforms, there’s a lot to cover. So, we’ve picked out a few of these changes which we believe will have the most impact on UK businesses. Here’s what you can expect...

Changes to the timeframe of unfair dismissal rights

Labour believes that waiting two years to earn unfair dismissal rights is discouraging workers from moving jobs. Therefore, they’re removing this requirement to ensure that workers can claim unfair dismissal from the day they start work.

Whilst they’ve advised that employers can exercise probationary periods, these changes will mean that businesses must better handle conduct and capability issues from the moment an employee starts work.

A push on flexible working arrangements

Whilst flexible working is the norm for many modern businesses, Labour is aiming to take it a step further by introducing legislation that makes flexible work the default from day one for all staff, except where it’s not “reasonably feasible”.

Whilst we’re unsure yet of how this will be reviewed, or if there will be changes to the current eight broad reasons employers can rely upon to reject a request, businesses should now look to offer more flexible arrangements if possible. Not only will this help them get ready for these legal changes, but it will help with their recruitment drive.

Harsher penalties on inequality and harassment

We already know that, in October, the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 is set to come into force, which will require businesses to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. However, Labour is aiming to build upon this by requiring employers to demonstrate they’ve taken “all” reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment, including by third parties.

Additionally, they’re planning on increasing protection for those on maternity leave by making it unlawful to dismiss a woman within six months of her return, except in special circumstances.

Furthermore, women going through the menopause will be receiving more support, with businesses that have over 250 employees being required to produce a Menopause Action Plan, which sets out how they support employees.

And finally, Labour will be implementing measures to address pay gaps that are related to gender, ethnicity, and disability, with more new reporting obligations being introduced to businesses with over 250 employees.

A right to “switch off”

As previously mentioned, flexible working has massively risen in popularity post-COVID, but, for many, that has led to blurred lines between home and work. With that said, Labour believes that it's important that staff can ‘switch off’.

Many EU countries already have a ‘right to switch off’ model, where employees have a right to not be penalised for ‘disconnecting’, and Labour are proposing something similar for the UK.

Reviewing your current working practices to ensure that work-life balance is of the upmost importance, especially now to prepare for your new obligations.

How iHasco can help...

With the impending employment law changes set out by the Labour government soon to arrive, it’s never been more important to train staff to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Here at iHasco, we’re here to support your business with workplace training whenever you need us. With over 180 e-learning courses that cover topics like Mental Health, EDI, and Remote Working, we can take care of your training requirements. Some of our most relevant courses surrounding these topics include:

Why not get started with a free, no-obligation trial to any of our courses today? Alternatively, you can request a bespoke quote and we’ll be in touch to discuss your training needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topics surrounding Labour’s proposed employment law changes, you can check out some of our free guides: