What a Labour Government Could Mean for UK Employment Law

July 9, 2024

By Owen John

After winning an overall majority in last week’s general election, Labour are planning significant changes to employment law in their first 100 days in power. We set out what every employer should know about these changes right now.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, including practical tips to prepare for them, join Darwin Gray’s employment solicitors for a free 45-minute webinar explaining what the election result means for employment law. Book your place here.

Whilst Labour’s final plans are yet to be announced, here are the significant employment law changes that they’ve already promised to make; some of them in their first 100 days in power.

  1. Unfair Dismissal rights from Day One of employment

Currently, an employee must be employed for a full 2 years before they have the right not be unfairly dismissed by their employer. This means that often employers will be able to dismiss someone in a risk-free way (assuming there are no discrimination or whistleblowing issues involved) during that first 2 years of employment.

However, Labour have announced that they will scrap this 2-year threshold, meaning that employees will have protection from unfair dismissal from the very first day of their employment. It has been suggested that this won’t prevent employers from using probationary periods to justify dismissal however.

  1. Removing limits on compensation for unfair dismissal claims

At the moment, there is a limit on the compensation that can be awarded in successful unfair dismissal claims (of a year’s salary or £115,115 – whichever is the lower).

However, Labour are proposing to scrap this cap. This could potentially increase the value of many successful unfair dismissal claims brought to the Employment Tribunal.

  1. Scrapping ‘worker’ status

Currently, UK employment law recognises 3 categories of employment status; employee, worker and self-employed. The distinction is important to determine what level of employment law rights (or lack of) are enjoyed by someone.

Labour say they will scrap the middle category of worker; leaving just employees and those who are self-employed.

  1. Ban on fire and re-hire

Fire and hire is the practice of dismissing an employee and offering them re-engagement on different (usually lower) terms. Labour’s plan is to outlaw the practice. We await further details on this.

  1. Ban on zero hours contracts

Zero hours contracts are often used where work levels vary and an employer cannot guarantee a set number of hours work to their staff. They are sometimes referred to as casual worker contracts. Labour’s plan is to ban them. Again, we await further details on this.

  1. More trade union rights

Labour are planning to strengthen the role played by trade unions by giving them more powers and a new right to access workplaces to organise members. In theory, this should make it easier for workers to strike.

What should you do now?

At our upcoming webinar, our employment solicitors will be offering practical tips for what employers should do right now to prepare for these changes. Book your place here.


If you require advice or assistance on the expected changes or any HR support from our experts, please contact Owen John on ojohn@darwingray.com or 029 2082 9100 for a free initial chat to see how we can help you.

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