How The Labour Government will effect employers and employees

Labour have won the UK Election 2024 with a landslide victory. Here’s a look back at all the Manifestos from the parties in the UK Election with a particular focus on the pledges the new labour government made prior to the Election.

The information below was released prior to the Election result. So whilst the Labour Manifesto remains unchanged at time of publishing, we’ll bring you more updates as they are announced.

UK Election Manifestos – HR and Employment Policies Spotlight

We’re exploring several policies from the party manifestos in the UK General Election.

Focusing on the main points which could impact UK employers. As well as the expected repercussions of either a new government coming into power or a continuation of the current one.

This list mostly focuses on the pledges and Manifesto inclusions of the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Green & Reform parties with supporting views along with critics of the changes.

We hope you enjoy this in-depth article on the HR implications of the UK election policies and employment law mentions in the UK party manifestos.

Reach the details Fast:

Labour Manifesto Round Up

Conservative Manifesto Round Up

Liberal Democrats Manifesto Round Up

The Green Party Manifesto Round Up

Reform UK Manifesto Round Up

Conservative Manifesto Round Up – UK election employment policies spotlight

A round up of the conservative manifesto with relevant pros and cons for employers, employees and HR teams. Including UK election employment policies

Changes to Payroll

Tax – Another 2p off National Insurance. With plans to abolish this completely. Something payroll professionals will want to keep an eye. This is an evolution of Spring Budget announcements.
Pensions – Protection for pensioners with Triple Lock Plus so that the state pension isn’t taxed, this will be of particular interest to older workers and their pension contributions during the payroll process.

Need Payroll Support? – Explore Payroll Services

Young people entering work

National Service – Aimed at giving young people new skills and opportunities under the bold new scheme. A scheme which has had mixed reactions. This could be great for people development for entry level jobs and young workers and help dispel some of the age stereotypes for Gen Z and Gen Alpha. However, it may also pull people away from apprenticeships and jobs in order to carry out National Service.

Apprenticeships – 100K new apprenticeships aimed to be high-quality and a contour to current “rip-off” university degrees.
Advanced British Standard – To enhance both technical learning and academic skills.

Conservative Manifesto Reactions

More Money for employees in monthly and weekly payroll – “Conservatives plan to cut tax for workers by taking another 2 pence off employee National Insurance so that it will have halved from 12% at the beginning of this year to 6% by April 2027, a total tax cut of £1,350 for the average worker on £35,000.” – Staffing Industry

Useful lifelong development but missing Restart scheme – “Many sectors are short of skilled staff which makes the extension of Lifelong Learning Entitlement and Skills Bootcamps useful. No mention of the Restart scheme is a surprise – as there are examples of it delivering” – Kate Shoesmith, Deputy Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation

Apprenticeship concerns – “Plans to continue to push apprenticeships without heeding the advice of businesses and trade bodies such as APSCo is of concern. As we have highlighted, if apprenticeships are to be appropriate for the modern, more flexible world of work, then how they are run and funded needs to be reformed. Increasing the number of apprenticeships won’t bridge the gap in take up of these study routes.” Ania Bowers, global public policy director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo)

Stability for pensions with a pinch of salt – “The promise by the Conservatives to deliver stability in the pension tax system by not adding new taxes to pensions, maintaining the current system of tax relief and keeping the tax-free lump sum is welcome. “However, it is important to take this pledge with a pinch of salt. The 25% tax-free lump sum is now capped at £268,275, and failing to increase this amount will effectively mean tax-free cash is steadily eroded by inflation.” Tom Selby, director of public policy at AJ Bell

Labour Manifesto Round Up – Including UK election employment policies

Let’s Get Britain’s Future Back is labour’s slogan for the Election and their mission can be found in full here. Here’s what their long-term plans focus on with lots of UK election employment policies.

Economic stability – Based on certainty and tough fiscal rules to create low inflation and the benefits which come with this. Economic stability will come as a relief to UK employers and employees alike but it remains to be seen if labour could achieve this in practice.

Well-paid jobs and backing British Business – Supported by an industrial strategy to back key sectors including tech, life science, financial, clean power as well as creative industries. Extra innovation would be great for businesses but would require budgeting.

Creating a National Wealth Fund aimed at unlocking billions of pounds of private investment & crowding in 3 times the amount of public investment.

Kickstarting a skills revolution – Introducing a new generation of Technical Excellence Colleges offering high quality apprenticeships and training. This also has a focus on local jobs which could help with work-life balance and reviving towns. This is aimed at people development leading to high skills, great for business growth and raising living standard.

Higher living standards – To raise the standard of living in all areas of the country.

Making work pay – Raising low wages (making the National Minimum Wage a genuine living wage) and providing more security at work. This will be achieved by putting an end to zero hours contracts and fire and rehire practices. What’ more, they want to change the remit of the independent Low Pay Commission so for the first time it accounts for the cost of living too. Many employees are under financial stress due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Changes to age bands for pay rates – Labour will also remove the “discriminatory age bands”, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage, delivering a pay rise to hundreds of thousands of workers across the UK.

Basic rights from day one – Parental leave, sick pay and protection from unfair dismissal from 1st day of employment and strengthen trade unions. They also plan to create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld. Supporters say these rights have been a long time coming. Critics say this will help pressure on employers and lead to more employment tribunal. These tribunals won’t help employees if there is a backlog. On the other side of things with the new Flexible Working Bill its clear that employment law continues to evolve.

Reactions to the Labour Manifesto

Workplace Change from Labour – “Labour’s manifesto proposes the biggest shake-up of the workplace in a generation. The aim of boosting the quality of work across Britain is laudable, as is a better deal for under-paid and under-valued care workers. But the sheer scale of these reforms carries risks that demand careful implementation.” Mike Brewer, Interim Chief Executive at the Resolution Foundation

Business Economy plans are good news – “Labour’s plan for the economy is good news for my customers and colleagues in high streets across the country. Labour will bring stability, good jobs and higher living standards.” Richard Walker OBE Executive Chairman of Iceland

Small Changes – “This was not a manifesto for those looking for big numbers. The public service spending increases promised in the “costings” table are tiny, going on trivial. The tax rises, beyond the inevitable reduced tax avoidance, even more trivial.” Paul Johnson, IFS Director

Liberal Democrats. Manifesto Round Up – UK election employment policies focus

Here’s the focus from the Liberal Democrats. Here’s what employers will need to know about Lib Dems UK election employment policies and more.

Job Market, Hiring and People Development

Focus on skills and recruitment for young people – Investing in education and training increasing apprenticeships and career advice for young people which could help stimulate the jobs market but requires focus. Critics will also say that hiring and recruitment routes need to be easier for young people. Young people often struggle to secure roles due to ‘lack of experience’ whilst businesses often experience recruitment challenges.

Hiring right now? – Get in touch for recruitment support

Job Market Re-entry – Encourage and empower more people to enter or re-enter the job market including parents, carers and disabled people – By utilising new tech and ways of working. It’s possible there may be a greater focus placed on flexible or remote working as a result. Employers may want to review their hybrid working policies regardless of the outcome of the UK Election.

L&D – Tackling the productivity crisis by encouraging businesses to invest in training, using digital tech and becoming more energy efficient. Creating new Lifelong Skills Grants for adults to spend on education and training throughout their lives. Team development and leadership skills are key for business success. It’s also clear that emerging tech such as AI can improve efficiencies in business but require HR policies to avoid misuse.

Download our free hybrid working assessment resource

Name-Blind Recruitment – Expanding this in recruitment processes in the public sector and encouraging this use in the private sector. These practices have critics and supporters. Some companies are also using other means such as Psychometric Testing to help hire the right people, onboard them better and integrate them with the team.

Business and Productivity Boosts

Business and Jobs – An industrial strategy to give businesses certainty and incentivise them to invest in new tech creating good jobs.

Small Business Boost – Empower more people to create more local jobs, abolishing business rates for them and replacing them with a Commercial landowner levy to help high streets. Start-ups will also see support for research and innovation. Small businesses and start-ups often require extra support as they face challenges such as implementing smooth HR for small business and Payroll processes as they grow so extra support is always welcome.

Working Environment, Employment Law and People Development

General duty of care – For environment and human rights in both business operations and supply chains.

AI regulation – Ensure AI promotes innovation and remains unbiased, transparent and accurate. HR teams will want to look closely at AI for opportunities and challenges.

Speed up the courts process – Plans to create a more supportive justice system and shift the burden of proof in employment tribunals regarding employment status from the individual to the employer. Again, this could make things harder to UK employers who will want to ensure they have the right HR support in place.

HR elements – Aiming to make misogyny a hate crime, extra flexible working rights, clearer respect and defence for all gender identities, and scrap anti-protest laws. HR teams should look at the Equality Act and the new integration of Indirect Discrimination to ensure that they remain compliant. Where possible HR and L&D teams should look at how they can be progressive in terms of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging). To boost the businesses’ productivity and employee wellbeing at work.

Modernise the ‘gig economy’ – Bring in extra protections for employers around zero-hour contracts rights to request fixed hours contracts over 12 months as well as exploring how to tweak pensions for those in the gig economy.

Neurodiversity in the workplace – More support and advice for employers around the topic to support employers. This is a welcome inclusion for a topic that doesn’t always come top of government agendas. Workplaces should look at diversity from a wider point of view not just demographic diversity but also cognitive diversity and neurodiversity. However, HR teams also need to take note to ensure they avoid discrimination and can offer the right accommodations to suit the needs of the business and individuals.

People Development and Employee Benefits

Employee benefits – Promote employee ownership with a new right to request shares for companies of more than 250 employees. This will be a great employment benefit if this works well.

Paid on Time – Tackle the issue of late payrolls by requiring companies with more than 250 employees to sign the prompt payment code. Supports will say this will help payroll processing improve however critics may argue this doesn’t go far enough as smaller companies may be more likely to struggle to pay employees on time.

Minimum Wage – A new Worker Protection Agency would focus on minimum wage, tackling modern slavery and protecting agency workers as well as establishing an independent review to recommend a genuine living wage.

Paternity Pay – Expand parental leave and pay, including making them day-one rights

Change SSP – Align the rate with the NMW, support small employers with sick pay costs and make it available to more than one million workers earning less than £123 a week. This will be a shake up to statutory rates. These changes acknowledge the burden of sick pay leave on small businesses in the UK.

Pensions – Support pensioners by protecting the triple lock so that pensions always rise in line with inflation, wages or 2.5% – whichever is highest.

Payroll and HR reporting – Large companies will be required to monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+ employment levels. As well as pay gaps, progression and publishing five-year aspirational diversity targets. Gender pay gap reporting is already mandatory for large organisations so this is a continuation of current payroll legislation.

Lib Dem Manifesto Reactions

Shopping List of Changes – “a long shopping list of spending commitments and a shorter list of optimistic tax rises, mostly focused on banks, water and tech companies, as well as a 500% increase on council tax for second homes.” – SMF
Move to upgrade worker’s rights welcomed – “Insecure work has rocketed under the Conservatives. More families than ever lack the job security and guaranteed hours of work needed for a decent life. Working people are desperate for change.” Paul Nowak, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress

The Green Party Pledges Round Up – What HR teams need to know about their UK election employment policies

The Green Party launched their manifesto on 12th June. “Vote Hope. Vote Change. Vote Green.”

Making Work Fair

Pay ratio – A maximum 10:1 pay ratio for all private- and public-sector organisations. This will help create financial fairness and avoid systems where the highest paid people in a company continue to benefit from pay and profits whilst many staff are on low wages.

Right to strike – Repeal of current anti-union legislation and its replacement with a positive Charter of Workers’ Rights, with the right to strike at its heart along with a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions. This is met with mixed reactions, some who argue that employees should have this right whilst others cite the disruption to ordinary people.

National Minimum Wage – An increase in the minimum wage to £15 an hour, no matter your age, with the costs to small businesses offset by reducing their National Insurance payments.

Employment rights – Equal employment rights for all workers from their first day of employment, including those working in the ‘gig economy’ and on zero-hours contracts. Gig employers that repeatedly break employment, data protection or tax law will be denied licences to operate.

4-day week – A move to a four-day working week. Many companies are reviewing the 4-day working week and other alternatives and it remains to be seen if this could be successful.

Fairer, Greener Transport – Increase annual public subsidies for rail and bus travel to £10bn. Invest in an additional £19bn over five years to improve public transport. Bring the railways back into public ownership. Plus give local authorities control over and funding for improved bus services. £2.5bn on new cycleways and footpaths and banning domestic flights that would take less than 3 hours by train.

Defending Human Rights, Democracy and Justice – Replacing the first past the post system for parliamentary elections, votes for 16+, replacing the House of Lords. Campaign to end violence against women and girls, protect freedom of expression. There are also measures to repair court system with £2.5bn investment, campaign for the right to self-identification for trans and non-binary people and tackle hate crime. HR teams should review their HR policies annually including topics such as harassment. HR policy reviews are a great way to get external HR advice and ensure these stay up to date with the latest changes and HR trends.

Green Party Manifesto Reactions

Opportunities for employee engagement and retention – “This law change could definitely have a positive impact, especially when it comes to employee engagement and retention, and be a core enabler in the performance of your people. Having a robust wellbeing strategy in place, whether this be within your HR/people strategy or incorporated into the overall business strategy, will bring about a supportive culture, ensuring that people feel valued.” Mia Finley, people advisor for the employment law firm AfterAthena

This may increase disincentives to work – “Many of the measures would combine to increase disincentives to work and to invest. Accounting for the fact that we would expect potentially large responses to such a significant increase in taxes, it is unlikely that the measures would raise as much revenue as expected” IFS

Reform UK Manifesto ‘Contract to The People’ Round Up – What are their UK election employment policies?

The key pledges of the Reform UK party “Together let’s Make Britain Great!”

Economic Reforms

Reform our Economy – A focus on faster growth and hopes to free UK workers from Income Tax and small business and self-employed workers from paying Corporation Tax. This is aimed at promoting growth through lower taxation.

Business Perks

Free Over 1.2 Million Small and Medium Sized Businesses from Corporation Tax.
Abolish IR35 Rules to Support Sole Traders.
Lift the VAT Threshold to £120,000

Education for entering the job market

Universities Must Provide 2 Year Graduate Courses – The option of 2-year courses would reduce student debt and allow earlier entry into employment to help pay it off. These quick courses could help stimulate the market and combat the 1st year of university which is often known for being a ‘softer’ year. However this may water down the quality of courses too.

Increase Technical Courses and Apprenticeships – Value young people with vocational talents. Britain needs skilled workers in engineering, construction, IT and high demand sectors.

Review Pension provision – The current pension system is riddled with complexity, huge cost and poor returns leading to lower pensions. Other nations like Australia do savings and pensions much better and cheaper than we do, from a much younger age. It’s clear that saving for retirement is a key problem currently as employees are not saving enough. Some larger employers offer free pension advice as an employee benefit.

Make Work Pay – Lifting the income tax start point to £20,000 per year means an extra £1,500 per year. This would be a key incentive for those on benefits to find work.

Start to Motivate up to 2 Million People Back to Work – Reforms to benefit support & training will help people back into work. Particular focus on 16-34 year olds. Employment is critical to improving mental health. Tax relief for businesses that undertake apprenticeships. However it should be noted that employment can also have an adverse effect on mental health. Sick leave statistics in the UK show that mental health is a key reason for absenteeism so this also needs addressing head on.

Enforce a 2-Strike Rule for Job Offers – All Job seekers and those fit to work must find employment within 4 months or accept a job after 2 offers. Otherwise benefits are withdrawn. Supporters will say this is a necessary step to stop this being a lifestyle choice and counter the uplift in unemployment since the pandemic. Critics will argue this places extra stress and financial burdens on vulnerable members of society.

Thereafter Integrate Mental Health Services with Job Seeking Pathways -“Britain’s young people are in the grip of a mental health crisis. Work is a cure not a cause.” As mentioned above this is not a simple solution.

Reform UK manifesto ‘Contract to the people’ reactions

A threat to the Tory Party – “They harm the Conservatives more now than Ukip did in 2015 because the post-Brexit Tories have a lot more ‘Ukippy’ voters – who they picked up in 2017 and 2019,” said Robert Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester

Remove the term ‘far-right’ – The use of the term “far-right” to describe political parties such as Reform UK is unhelpful. The term causes too visceral a reaction and at the same time is too broad to be meaningful. Tim Bale Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University

💙 Are your HR policies up-to-date? – Want a second look? 💙

Employment laws are changing. Whoever wins the UK Election you’ll want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to your HR policies and attracting top talent.

We’re supporting companies with HR Policy reviews and drafting everything from hybrid working policies to dealing with grievance investigations through our HR services.

Want advice on updating or creating your HR policies? Get in touch.

Get a HR Policy Review

Important note about this article

Please note that this blog is created as an informative piece which aims to hold balanced viewpoints and should not be used in isolation for voting consideration, this is intended to help businesses prepare for the aftermath of the UK Election including possible employment law changes.

Talk Staff does not have any affiliation with any political party and the viewpoints & opinions contained in this article are reflective of wider sources and not directly from members of the Talk Staff team.

Many text comes directly from Manifestos and pledges and therefore any opinions do not reflect the thoughts of Talk Staff. We have included opinions and statistics from key sources and our own knowledge.
We have aimed to include the most relevant topics for employers. Due to the nature of the General Election it is inevitable that more party pledges will land, so we’ll add these here as they happen. As this article focuses on items of high relevance to HR teams and business leaders it is inevitable that not every Manifesto promise and policy are included.

You can reach us directly if you have any questions.