With the possibility of a general election before the end of the year, it is worth taking a look at the key employment policies coming out of each party’s 2019 conference.

Conservatives

  • To increase the national living wage from £8.21 per hour to £10.40 per hour by 2024. They also pledge to make the national living wage the minimum wage for anyone over 21 within five years. Currently, the national living wage is the minimum wage for workers who are age 25 and over.
  • To invest £2.8 million into a new app that will assist people in finding work. The app will recommend the best jobs and skills training to jobseekers and people looking to find better, higher-paid jobs based on the person’s selected skills.
  • To introduce a pensions dashboard so that people can see their savings online and in one place to allow better future planning.
  • To invest £500m in a Youth Investment fund which will fund new Youth Centres across the country to provide support to young people in a number of ways including helping them secure employment.

Labour

  • To increase the national living wage to over £10 per hour as soon as possible. They also propose to make the national living wage the minimum wage for anyone over the age of 16 by 2024.
  • To reduce the average working week to 32 hours (4 days) without any loss of earnings within a decade. This would be delivered by:
    • Ending the op-out from the European Working Time Directive (so that workers would no longer be able to agree to work more than 48 hours per week);
    • Setting up a Working Time Commission with the power to recommend increases in statutory leave entitlements;
    • Reinstating sectoral collective bargaining which would include negotiations over working hours.
  • To abolish zero hour contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
  • To force large organisations to make adjustments for menopausal women such as giving them extra time off work and allowing them to work flexibly.
  • To create a new Workers’ Protection Agency to enforce employment laws and standards; and a Ministry of Employment Rights to lead the expansion of individual and collective employment rights.

Liberal Democrats 

  • To set a 20% higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts at times of normal demand to compensate them for the uncertainty of fluctuating hours of work.
  • To require all companies with over 250 employees or those who receive public funds to monitor and publish data on diversity employment levels and pay gaps.
  • To require large companies to publicly publish their parental leave policies, including information regarding funding.
  • To extend shared parental leave to self-employed fathers, ensure shared parental leave is a day one right, and give fathers an additional four weeks of use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave.
  • To reform the apprenticeship levy and introduce a more flexible Personal Education and Skills Account which both the government and employers would contribute to.
  • To fund an EU recruitment campaign and lower the £30,000 earnings threshold for jobs to qualify as skilled for overseas workers.

SNP

It is worth noting that as employment law is a reserved matter, the potential impact of the SNP’s policies is limited. Their policies are as follows:

  • To increase the national living wage to over £10 per hour and for this to be the minimum wage for anyone over the age of 18. They also propose that the apprentice rate for 16-18 year olds should be increased.
  • To introduce a Jobs Grant for young people aged 16 to 24 who have been unemployed for six months or more. This would involve young parents receiving £250 and those without children receiving £100, as well as free bus travel for three months to help them take up offers of work.
  • To double the Employment Allowance, the National Insurance discount that businesses receive when they increase employment.

Please get in touch with your usual Brodies’ contact if you would like to discuss anything raised in this blog in more detail.