24th April 2015


 Issue No.  2015/06



Election Promises - What’s in it for employers?

As we enter the last couple of weeks of election canvassing and our excitement builds to the big day (or not as the case may be) what are the parties promising on the employment law platform?

Minimum Wage/Living Wage

Conservatives - The Conservatives say they will “encourage” employers to pay the living wage, whenever they can afford it. There is no indication on how this will be achieved.

The Tories also say that the minimum wage is “on course” to be £8 an hour by 2020. This is not an explicit promise.

Labour- expressly promises to increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour.

They promise tax rebates for those employers that pay the living wage. Labour also pledges to use procurement to promote the living wage, potentially causing challenges for those employers with government contracts.

Liberal Democrats - As a means of clamping down on employers not paying the national minimum wage, the Lib Democrats would review the practice of unpaid internships. They also have plans to improve minimum wage enforcement by doubling the number of HMRC inspections on employers.

In addition, they set out measures to encourage more employers to pay the living wage, working with the Low Pay Commission and other stakeholders.

Green Party- The Green party would increase the minimum wage to a “living wage” of £10 by 2020. They would also introduce a maximum pay ratio of 10:1 between the best paid and the worst paid in every organisation.

Tribunal Fees

Labour - The Labour party commit to “abolish the Government’s Employment Tribunal fee system”. They also promise that “costs to the taxpayer will not rise”, it is likely that Labour would reform fees rather than remove them. They will have to match the estimated £9m of revenue that the fees system generates.

Liberal Democrats - Have pledged to review them with a view to lowering the level of fees.

Green Party - The Green party would reduce the Employment Tribunal fees so that tribunals are accessible to workers.

Zero Hours Contracts

Conservatives- say they will take “further steps” to eradicate abuses such as exclusivity in such contracts.

Labour- say that they would “ban exploitative zero-hours contracts”, by providing that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have the right to a regular contract.

Liberal Democrats- say they would continue to “stamp out abuse” by introducing a formal right to request a fixed contract, and consult on introducing a right to make patterns of work contractual after a period of time.

UKIP- Has no plans to ban zero-hours contracts outright.  It says it would introduce a legally binding code of conduct requiring businesses hiring 50 people or more to give workers on zero-hours contracts a full or part-time “secure” contract after one year, if requested. UKIP’s code would also ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts and require employers to give workers at least 12 hours’ advance notice of work and, once given, pay workers even if their labour was not needed.

Green Party- The Greens pledge to end exploitative zero-hours contracts, but do not explain how they would do this. They also commit to ending the exploitation of interns by ensuring that no unpaid full-time internship would last for more than four weeks.

Family Friendly Policies

Labour- Say that they will “double paid paternity leave” from two weeks to four weeks, and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week.

Liberal Democrats- Say they will provide fathers with an additional four weeks’ leave to encourage dads to take time off to care for their children. They would also consult on introducing five days’ paid “care leave” for workers who are also full-time carers.

Green Party- In order to improve life quality and “combat unemployment by sharing available work more equitably”, the Greens would phase in a 35-hour working week.

Equal Pay

Conservatives - The Tories will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees.

Labour - Labour say that they will require “large” companies to publish their gender pay gap, “strengthen” the law against maternity discrimination, and “tackle” unpaid internships.


Conservatives- Have a proposal to “protect you from disruptive and undemocratic strike action”. They would make it more difficult for unions to call strikes. Any strike will require at least 50% turnout, the support of at least 40% of those entitled to take part in ballots, and a majority among those who actually vote.

UKIP- Their objective is to leave the EU and the party claims that, if this were to happen, employment rights would continue to be protected. UKIP says that some laws, such as those relating to working time, would be amended because they “actively restrict the British work ethos and therefore [the] economy”.

We think this covers the main issues in the various manifestos but to be honest we were losing the will to live.  As you may expect there is very little detail in any of the parties’ proposals particularly relating to how they will achieve their goals and remember these are manifesto promises!

Will this help you to make up your mind on 7th May?





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Making sense of it all


Sentient - Training


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