Posted by Natalie Birrell (PR Consultant),
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What does election result mean for employment law?
As the dust settles on a dramatic General Election campaign, businesses are keen to know what the result will mean for employment legislation.
With the Conservatives having secured an overall majority it is rather easier to establish what legislation lies in store than five years ago, although some aspects of policy do remain uncertain.
Here is where the ruling party stand on some of the biggest issues facing employers:
- The Minimum Wage – The Tories have said they want to see increases in the national minimum wage, but unlike some of their opponents they haven’t made specific promises about how much the rate will rise by. The party has, however, accepted recommendations that the wage should go up to £6.70 an hour this autumn. Under current projections, the rate will have reached £8 an hour by the end of the decade.
- Employment tribunal fees – Labour had fought the election calling for the fees introduced by the Coalition government to be scrapped. The Conservatives did not address the issue in their manifesto but it isn’t thought they have any plans to repeal the changes they previously introduced. Retaining the system would be welcomed by the business community, who believe the fees have dissuaded employees from pursuing spurious claims.
- Zero hours contracts – The contracts were the subject of much debate during the election campaign. Labour had wanted to introduce much stricter controls, including a requirement that employees working regular hours for more than 12 weeks would have a right to a regular contract. The Tories had railed against these measures, arguing that there were many people who welcomed the opportunity to work flexible hours. Legislation is nonetheless expected to ban exclusivity clauses, which currently prevent people from seeking work with other businesses to boost their employment hours.
- Pay gap – The Government has outlined plans which will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of male and female employees.
- Industrial action – Business Secretary Sajid Javid has signalled he will push ahead with plans to tighten up strike laws. Under proposals, public sector strikes would be illegal unless at least 40 per cent of eligible staff vote in favour of the action and there is a turn-out of at least 50 per cent.
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