international employment law firm alliance L&E Global
United Kingdom

UK General Election: What are the main parties proposing on employment law?

Authors: Ruth Bonino, Corinna Harris, Chris Holme, and Sophie Jackson

The Labour Party, which is ahead in the polls at the time of writing, has set out plans for far-reaching changes to workplace rights and protections if elected. These changes would have a significant impact on employment law in the UK.  Key proposals include:

  • moving to a two-category framework for employment status whereby people are classified as either “workers” or “genuinely self-employed”
  • giving all workers the same basic rights and protections from the first day of work, including statutory sick pay (SSP), parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal
  • strengthening redundancy rights and protections, including reversing the Woolworthscase
  • introducing new rules designed to prevent the abuse of zero hours contracts
  • introducing ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting for employers with more than 250 employees
  • strengthening trade union rights
  • reforming the law on “fire and rehire.”

For more details of these proposals, please see our detailed update.

The Conservative Manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • overhauling the “fit note” system to move responsibility from GPs to other work and health professionals
  • continuing with the implementation of minimum service level agreements in relation to industrial action
  • cutting employee national insurance to 6% by April 2027
  • abolishing national insurance for self-employed people by the end of the next Parliament
  • funding 100,000 high-quality apprenticeships for young people


The Liberal Democrats Manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • establishing a new “dependent contractor” employment status in between employment and self-employment, with entitlements to basic rights
  • doubling Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week, and increasing paternity pay to 90% of earnings with a cap for high earners
  • giving all workers, including self-employed parents, a day one right to parental leave and enhanced pay on the birth or adoption of a child
  • increasing minimum wage by 20% for people on zero-hour contracts at times of normal demand
  • changing the burden of proof in employment tribunals so that the employer has to disprove employment status (rather than employee prove it)
  • giving people a right to SSP from day 1, and removing the lower earnings limit
  • introducing new Equality Act protected characteristics of “caring” and “care experience”
  • requiring large employers to publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps and progression, and publish five-year aspirational diversity targets
  • introducing “Adjustment Passports” to record the adjustments and equipment a disabled person has received, and ensure that support and equipment stays with them if they change jobs.

The Green Party Manifesto includes plans to move to a four day working week, increase minimum wage to £15 an hour for all ages, give equal employment rights to all workers from the first day of employment (including zero-hours and gig economy workers) and repeal “anti-union legislation” and replace it with a new set of rights “with the right to strike at its heart along with a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions.”

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

We will keep clients updated on the potential for future significant changes to UK employment law as a result of this election. If elected, the Labour Party have promised an Employment Rights Bill to introduce reforms within the first 100 days but has promised to consult fully on legislation banning zero hours contracts, ending fire and rehire and introducing basic day one rights. It is unlikely that most reforms would take effect that quickly, but we could see some proposals for change relatively quickly on workplace law.