Labour Party's employment law proposals

The Labour Party has published far-reaching proposals for the reform of workplace rights which would move away from the current system of enforcement via the tribunal system to instead having more enforcement via government agencies.

A Ministry for Employment Rights (headed by a minister of Cabinet rank) would ‘bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen’. A Workers’ Protection Agency would ensure that all workers receive the rights and protections they are entitled to, have extensive powers to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on behalf of workers.

As regards collective employment rights, the Labour Party proposes:

  • introducing sectoral collective bargaining
  • repealing the whole of the Trade Union Act 2016
  • enabling electronic and workplace ballots
  • giving trade unions the right of entry to workplaces to organise members and to meet and represent their members
  • banning anti-union practice and the strengthening of protection of trade union representatives against unfair dismissal
  • extending the existing statutory rights to reasonable paid time off, facilities and training to perform their role as trade union representatives to include trade union equality representatives

As regards individual employment rights, the Labour Party proposes:

  • extending statutory maternity pay to 52 weeks
  • requiring large employers with 250+ employees to:
    • train line managers on the effects of the menopause and any adjustments that may be required
    • provide flexible working policies to cater for those going through the menopause
    • ensure absence procedures are flexible enough to accommodate menopause as a long-term fluctuating health condition, and
    • carry out risk assessments to consider the specific needs of menopausal women
  • creating a single status of ‘worker’ for everyone apart from the genuinely self employed
  • ending the Swedish derogation
  • reinstating the third-party harassment provisions of the Equality Act, requiring employers to publish their sexual harassment policies and extending the tribunal limit from 3 to 6 months
  • enabling the Workers’ Protection Agency to enforce compliance with gender pay gap reporting, and progressively amend the regulations so that by 2020, the threshold is lowered to workplaces with 50+ employees
  • giving all workers the right to ask for flexible working – and placing a duty on employers to accommodate the request, with the onus on the employer to show that a job is not suitable for flexible working
  • introducing a minimum wage of £10 per hour for workers aged over 16,
  • banning unpaid internships, and
  • outlawing zero-hours contracts by requiring all employers to give their workers a contract that accurately reflects their fixed and regular hours