Key employment law updates | June 2024

Welcome to our monthly update, where we share upcoming changes to employment law.

Election manifestos – impacts in the workplace

With the election fast approaching on 4 July, we summarise below the key policy and legislative pledges made by each party that will impact rights and obligations in the workplace.

Labour have promised significant and immediate reforms to employment law in their manifesto, largely focused on the rights of employees. If you would like more detailed insight into these changes Partner Karen Bates sets these out in our webinar.


Labour aims to end the practice of firing and rehiring employees under new terms, though businesses would still be allowed some flexibility for necessary restructuring.

Workers would receive rights from their first day on the job, including parental leave, sick pay, and protection against unfair dismissal. This contrasts with the current system that requires a set qualifying period for some employment rights, such as two years’ service for unfair dismissal.

The manifesto plans to align the minimum wage with the cost of living and remove age bands so all adults receive the same minimum wage.

Labour proposes stronger redundancy protections, particularly for multi-site businesses, by requiring collective consultation based on the total number of redundancies across the entire business.

Labour intends to ban zero hours contracts to ensure all jobs provide a minimum level of job security and predictable hours. The plan is for workers to have contracts that represent the hours they usually work, based on a 12-week reference period.

The Race Equality Act will be introduced, creating the full right to equal pay for Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority people, also protecting against dual discrimination. Labour also plans to introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers.

The manifesto includes a proposal for the right to switch off, helping employees maintain a healthy work-life balance by limiting work-related communications outside of work hours.

Labour seeks to simplify employment status by potentially reducing it to two categories: workers and self-employed. This would extend more rights to gig economy workers.

Changes made under the Trade Union Act 2016 will be reversed, including the information required for ballot papers, the turnout needed for a strike ballot, the limit on strike mandates to six months and the extension of the required notice of industrial action, which was doubled to two weeks.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 will be abolished – this creates minimum service levels (MSL) to be imposed during strike action in services within six sectors: health, education, fire and rescue, transport, border security, and nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management services.

The need for fully postal ballots for industrial action will be removed and Labour pledge that they will give unions the right to access workplaces.

Labour intends to introduce a full right to equal pay for disabled people. This will include the introduction of disability pay gap reporting for large employers.


The Conservative manifesto states that the UK would ‘retain the flexible and dynamic labour market that gives businesses the confidence to create jobs and invest in their workforce.' It is much lighter than Labour on changes as a result.

Employee National Insurance contributions will decrease by an additional 2p and the main rate of Class 4 self-employed National Insurance contributions would be abolished entirely by the end of the next Parliament.

The Conservatives plan to continue maintaining national living wage at 2/3 of median earnings in each year of the next Parliament.

A new points-based immigration system aims to prioritise high-skilled workers and reduce the number of low-skilled migrants.

Funding for 100,000 high-quality apprenticeships per year is proposed, focusing on curbing poor-quality university degrees and improving vocational training.

The introduction of mandatory National Service for 18-year-olds is suggested, with options for civic or military service.

The Conservatives would continue implementing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 and would bring forward legislation to reapply the Trade Union Act 2016 to Wales.

Conservatives will make efforts to improve diversity in the workplace, including monitoring and publishing data on gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps, as well as supporting neurodiverse employees.

The Conservatives plan to overhaul the current system of fit notes by designing a new system which moves the responsibility of issuing fit notes away from GPs and towards specialist work and health professionals. This is part of their ‘plan to get more people into work.’

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats also propose a number of significant employment law proposals focusing on the rights of employees in their manifesto.

The party wants to establish a new ‘dependent contractor’ status between traditional employment and self-employment, with basic rights such as minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement. It remains unclear how this differs to the current status of ‘worker’ under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

There are also plans to increase the minimum wage for people on zero-hours contracts by 20% (during times of normal demand) to compensate for the uncertainty of fluctuating hours. Workers will also get the opportunity to request a fixed hours contract after 12 months.

The party proposes to give employees in listed companies with more than 250 employees the right to request shares to be held in trust for the benefit of employees. This is aimed to create a more inclusive and invested workforce

The party plans to make all parental pay and leave day-one rights, increase pay for paternity leave to 90% of earnings and to double Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week.


The Liberal Democrats want to introduce the status of ‘caring’ as a new protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This would require employers to make reasonable adjustments to enable employees with caring responsibilities to provide such care.

A new authority is proposed to consolidate various enforcement responsibilities, ensuring compliance with minimum wage laws, tackling modern slavery and protecting agency workers.

Green Party

The Green party plan to introduce a number of key changes, set out below.

The party plans to introduce a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions and plans to  repeal ‘anti-union’ legislation which is to be replaced with a Charter of Workers’ Rights and a right to strike

The party plan to introduce a 10:1 pay ratio for all private and public-sector organisations.

An increase in the National Minimum Wage to £15 across all ages would be introduced.


The party plan on implementing identical employment rights for all workers from day one of employment.

The Green Party will support reduced working hours, moving towards a four-day working week.

General news updates

Tribunal claims could rise as employers call for staff to return to the office

Increasingly, employers are asking staff to return to the office and some companies are adding attendance to performance metrics for senior managers.

An analysis of tribunal claims related to remote working carried out by HR consultancy Hamilton Nash showed an increase from 27 cases in 2021 to 47 in 2022. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only six employment tribunal cases in 2019 cited working from home. This might indicate that a clampdown on remote working is linked to increased tribunal claims.

If you would like support in how to approach asking employees to return to the office, please get in touch.

Is generative AI replacing jobs?

A survey by Nash Squared carried out among 322 tech leaders globally has found that whilst 74% of UK tech employers have incorporated generative AI (GenAI) into their business to some extent, 51% say that it is used as a productivity tool to support existing jobs to increase efficiency.

Tech leaders in the UK see the potential of AI, but 55% have yet to find a clear business case beyond a personal productivity tool, and 27% are struggling with budgetary constraints.

Survey highlights need for employers to provide better support for neurodiverse tech workers

A survey into the experiences of neurodiverse workers in the UK tech sector, carried out by the trade union Prospect, shows that only 25% of employers in the sector have policies in place to support neurodiverse workers.

Nearly 75% of respondents were unaware of any neurodiverse support policies by their employer. Over a third of respondents reported that they had experienced discrimination related to their neurodiversity, with 80% having experienced challenges at work because of their condition.

If you are concerned about how to approach neurodiversity in the workplace and how to support employees, please do get in touch with our Employment team or visit our Workplace Discrimination page .