Gneral election employment proposals

General Election 2015: Employment proposals (part one)

So ‘election fever’ is sweeping the nation (or at least the media!) but what do the main political parties promise to deliver for employers and employees if they get into power after 7 May 2015?

Today, I examine what the party manifestos propose on pay and working time, zero hours contracts and protection for vulnerable workers.

Pay and working time

The Conservative Party has pledged its support for the National Minimum Wage and further measures to enforce the payment of it (a policy s
hared by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP) and pledge to increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500, which is also proposed by the Liberal Democrats (UKIP want to increase this to £13,000). The Conservative Party states that it will encourage businesses to pay the Living Wage – but only if they can afford to.

The Liberal Democrats propose an independent review to set a fair Living Wage, mandatory publishing of the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay by 2020. The Labour Party proposes that Listed companies report on whether they are paying the Living Wage and the introduction of “Make Work Pay” contracts, which would offer a tax rebate to employers paying the Living Wage in 2015.

The SNP and Green Party are more ambitious with their minimum wage plans, the SNP pledging that it will vote to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020 and support extending the Living Wage across the UK. The Green Party pledge that it will increase the minimum wage to a Living Wage of £10 per hour by 2020.

In terms of limiting or capping pay, the Conservative Party does not make any proposals, the Labour Party pledges to require employee representation when executive pay is set, better links between pay and performance by simplifying pay packages, and requiring investment and pension fund managers to disclose how they vote on top pay.The Labour Party also proposes a ratio for the highest earners against the average employee in every organisation. The Green Party proposes to enforce a cap on bankers’ bonuses and to introduce a maximum pay ratio of 10:1 between the best and the worst paid in every organisation.

Zero hours contracts and vulnerable workers

The Conservative Party has pledged it will work to eliminate exploitation of migrant workers and exclusivity in zero-hours contracts (also pledged by theLabour Party).

The Conservative Party further pledges that it will create an extra three million apprenticeships over the next five years, if it wins the election. The Labour Party manifesto says on this point that every school leaver who gets the grades will be guaranteed an apprenticeship and that it will guarantee a paid job for all young people who have been unemployed for one year and for all those aged over 25 who have been unemployed for two years. Benefits will be withdrawn if the job is refused.

The Liberal Democrats state in their manifesto that a formal contract could be demanded by workers who have worked regular hours over a certain time period (a policy shared by the Labour Party, who specifically state that the time period would be 12 weeks of regular hours and by UKIP, who propose that for businesses hiring 50 or more people, workers could demand a formal contract after one year of regular hours).

UKIP pledges that workers on zero hours contracts must be given at least twelve hours’ notice of work and that once notice has been given, they must be paid for the work, whether or not they are actually needed.

Tomorrow, solicitor and legal writer Samantha Joliffe will look at what the parties are saying about discrimination at work and employment tribunals.

For further information please find links to all the main party manifestos below:

Mark Edwards

Senior Vice President of EMEA at Rocket Lawyer
With a decade of experience as an innovator and business leader in the UK legal industry, Mark specializes in creating and growing new businesses based on sound market insight and customer need. He sees the team and the people in it as the crucial component for building a successful business.

Prior to joining Rocket Lawyer in 2012, Mark led the legal business development team for LexisNexis UK. There, he managed a cross-functional team, and was responsible for the full lifecycle of product innovation—from proposition development and business case, through the launch and early sales traction. During his time at LexisNexis UK he built two new successful product lines. Previously, Mark was a user experience consultant, working in various industries including telecommunications and health.

Mark has a Computing degree, a masters in User Experience, and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.