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.

Contact Our Team
Bríd Price
Solicitor
View Profile
Damian Phillips
Partner
View Profile
Fflur Jones
Managing Partner
View Profile
Fiona Sinclair
HR Consultant
View Profile
Heledd Evans
Trainee Solicitor
View Profile
Nicole Brendel
Solicitor
View Profile
Owen John
Partner
View Profile
Rachel Ford-Evans
Senior Associate
View Profile
Seren Trigg
HR Consultant
View Profile

I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”

Becs Beslee
Dice FM Ltd

Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”

Rebecca Cooper
ACT Training

We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”

Karen Gale
Stepping Stones Group

An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”

Gwawr Booth
Portal Training Ltd

PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”

Ledia Shabani
Property Support Services UK Ltd

We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”

Guto Bebb
Farmers’ Union of Wales

Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”

Iwan Hywel
Mentrau Iaith Cymru

My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”

Margot Adams
Guarding UK Ltd