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The Labour Party’s employment rights Green Paper: What will the proposals mean for employers in the UK?


In the run-up to the next general election, the Labour Party has been working on its proposed reforms to current employment law.  These reforms have recently been published in its ‘A New Deal for Working People Green Paper’.

So what is Labour exactly proposing and how can an equal balance be achieved between workers and businesses?...

Labour’s proposals include the strengthening of protections afforded to all workers, by banning zero-hours contracts, ending hire and rehire, and scrapping qualifying periods for basic rights.

The reforms set out in “A New Deal for Working People” include unfair dismissal, sick pay, and parental leave, which will remove the current qualifying periods and give working people rights at work from day one.

Further details of exactly what these reforms would entail will no doubt be published in the run-up to an election.

A welcome awareness of mental health has also been included in Labour’s plans with a bid to revise outdated legislation and make it fit for modern life, taking into account stress and the impact of new technology.

In response, UK businesses have warned that these plans could leave workers with less secure jobs and Adam Marshall, a former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce who now works as an adviser commented that “A lot of businesses are looking for ways around the proposals, like the use of fixed-term contracts, looking into using contractors,”  “I’ve heard about probation periods. People are concerned about the risk to their business.”

How to strike a balance between creating fairer and more equitable workplaces at the same time as protecting jobs and the economy will be no easy task, but employers will need to pay close attention as the general election gets closer as Labour has promised to introduce an employment bill within the first 100 days of office.


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