Navigating Employment Law Changes: What the Labour-Green Paper Means for Businesses

Rishi Sunak’s rain-sodden announcement of a 4 July general election may have set the stage for an intense period of political debate.

One key area of focus is the employment law changes detailed in the Labour Green Paper, aimed at strengthening workers’ rights. Here are the proposed changes that Labour plans to implement within the first 100 days of their government:

Minimum Wage Rise

Labour is advocating for an increase in the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour for all workers, addressing in-work poverty.

Ban on Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships, except those that form part of an education or training course, would be banned.

Social Security System

Universal credits will be replaced by a social security system, allowing low-income earners on benefits to retain more of their take-home pay. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be raised and made available to all workers, including the self-employed and those currently restricted by the lower earnings limit. This aims to prevent workers from having to choose between their health and financial stability.

Fair Pay Agreements

Labour plans to establish terms and conditions by bringing together employer and worker representatives to cover various topics, including health and safety, pensions, pay, working time, annual leave, diversity and inclusion, training, and the implementation of new technologies.

Creation of a Single Status of ‘Worker’

To rectify injustice, Labour will create a single worker status for everyone except the legitimately self-employed. This means all workers will have the same basic rights and protections, such as protection against unfair dismissal, parental leave, holiday pay, and sick pay.

Removal of Qualifying Periods for Basic Rights

Basic rights like unfair dismissal protection, sick pay, and parental leave will no longer require a qualifying period.

Ban on Zero Hours Contracts

Labour intends to ban zero hours contracts to provide workers with security and predictability. This also includes contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

Outlawing Fire and Rehire

Labour plans to take action to end fire and rehire practices.

Right to Switch Off

To promote better work-life balance, workers will have the right to disconnect from work and not be contacted by their employer outside of contracted hours.

Strengthening Family-Friendly Rights

Proposals include the right to bereavement leave, extended maternity/paternity leave, protection for pregnant women from unlawful dismissal, and improvements to the shared parental leave process.

Updating Trade Union Legislation

Labour is committed to updating trade union legislation to align with the modern economy.

Single Enforcement Body

A single enforcement body will be established to protect workers, covering health and safety, discriminatory practices, minimum wage enforcement, and worker exploitation. This body will have the power to bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on behalf of workers.

Rights and Protections for the Self-Employed

Self-employed individuals will have the same health and safety protections as employees.

Confronting Criminal Labour Exploitation

Labour will introduce legislation to ensure accountability if slavery or criminal labour exploitation is discovered, with joint and several liability across the supply chain.

Physical and Mental Health Equality

A review of health and safety laws at work will be conducted, raising awareness of neurodiversity, mental health, and stress provisions in the workplace.

Addressing Pay Gaps

Measures will be implemented to enforce employers to report and eliminate gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps. Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to publish ethnicity pay gap reports.

These proposed changes could bring significant workload implications for HR and employers. Is it time to start planning now?

For any questions or support with these proposed changes or existing employment law updates, please contact us at 0203 936 9171.

#EmploymentLaw #HRSupport #LabourGreenPaper #WorkersRights

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