What will the General Election mean for employment law?


We will go to the polling booths on 4th July 2024.  If Labour wins, what should we expect?

Key plans are likely to include:

  1. More day-one employment rights, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed (although employers will be able to operate probationary periods).
  2. A ban on zero-hours contracts, unless requested, and new rights to regular hours based on hours worked in the last 12 weeks.
  3. New rights for unions to access workplaces.
  4. State enforcement of employment rights and strengthened statutory sick pay.
  5. Restrictions on ‘fire and re-hire’.
  6. Repeal of recent anti-strike laws.
  7. Enhanced protection against sexual harassment.
  8. Introduction of ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.
  9. Enhanced rights to work flexibly.
  10. A right to disconnect from work.
  11. A review of shared parental leave.
  12. More regulation of AI.
  13. Replacing the UK’s three-part framework for employment rights with a simpler two-part framework of workers and the self-employed.

Full details will emerge only when any new Labour government starts the legislative process with consultations and draft laws.

Source: Labour’s plan to make work pay


The Conservative party has been quieter, but its aim will likely be deregulatory.

Key plans are likely to include:

  1. Re-introduce employment tribunal fees.
  2. Possibly capping the duration of non-compete clauses.
  3. Minor TUPE reforms.
  4. Abolishing European Works Councils.
  5. Enhanced paternity leave for fathers whose partner dies in childbirth. This is among the bills that might be saved, but time is very short.
  6. Potentially redefining ‘sex’ in the Equality Act to mean ‘biological sex’.

Given Labour’s lead in the polls, these pledges are unlikely to become law, but they could become topics for debate in the election campaign.

Balancing conflicting views

These topics may be the subject of debate with your employees airing their views on social media and at work.  In the same way that comments about the Israel/Hamas war or gender identity and expression have caused tension, election discussions may cause conflict in your business. Consider tightening your guidelines and reissuing any applicable policies.  Adopt your position now and communicate it to your employees and workers.