After last night’s unexpected election result with the Conservatives winning a small, but outright, majority we look at their key proposals based on their manifesto and key pledges:
- Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts will be banned at a date to be decided
- Industrial action will require a turnout of at least 50% of union membership and support from a minimum of 40% of those entitled to vote in strike ballots in respect of core public services
- The provisions which prevent employers from recruiting agency workers to cover employees on strike will be repealed
- Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to publish their gender pay gap information to be introduced by March 2016
- To accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission which means the NMW is on course to increase to over £8 per hour by 2020. They will also support the Living Wage and will encourage businesses who can afford it to pay it
- Entitlement to three days paid volunteering leave per year will be introduced for those working for large employers or in the public sector
- A British Bill of Rights will be introduced to replace the Human Rights Act 1995
- This also means that for the moment employment tribunal fees will not be abolished and neither will employee shareholder status.
As ever, pensions remains a political topic. The Tory party manifesto is to reduce pensions tax relief for higher earners – those with earnings over £150,000. As well as causing administrative complexities, this is noteworthy because for the first time this will break the link between tax rates and tax reliefs. The manifesto is light on detail so it is difficult to know at this stage exactly what the changes will involve. However, the hope is that a pro-active minister will be appointed to implement these changes.
In addition, the Tory aim to implement more devolution to Scotland means that this is likely to lead to there being changes to taxation in Scotland. This will result in further complexities in the taxation of pensions and further complexities in how they are administered - none of which is welcome.
The main points are:
- Keeping net migration in the tens of thousands and not in the hundreds of thousands
- For economic migration they will maintain the cap of 20,700 (for Tier 2 General restricted sponsorship applications)
- Clamping down on illegal immigration and abuse of minimum wage
- Employers regularly using the shortage occupation list to sponsor workers in the UK will need to provide long term training plans for training “British” workers
- Implementing changes to the student visa system
- Enhancing border security and strengthening enforcement of immigration rules
- Develop a fund to ease pressure on local areas and public services experiencing unexpected volumes of immigration some of which will go on enforcement
- Controlling migration from the EU by reforming welfare rules
- Introducing an English language test and maintenance requirements for non EEA spouses of EEA nationals
Finally, given that much of our UK legislation on employment, pensions and immigration issues originates from the EU the most significant change under the new Tory government could be the proposed in-out EU referendum which is due to take place by the end of 2017.