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On 7 May 2015, the Conservatives were voted into government for the next parliamentary term. We have set out below the Conservative Party's key pledges on employment law.
As a result, we may expect to see the following changes to employment law in the upcoming months and years:
Zero hour contracts
The Conservatives pledged to make exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts unenforceable. They made provision for this in s153 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEEA 2015), which will need to be brought into force by secondary legislation to take effect.
British Bill of Rights
The Conservatives also pledged to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with the British Bill of Rights, removing the European Court of Human Rights' power over UK human rights matters.
Trade union and industrial action
Substantial changes have been promised to laws on trade union and industrial action, leading the TUC to state that the proposals would make striking 'close to impossible'.
National minimum wage and living wage
The Conservative Party plan to accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission and increase the National Minimum Wage to £6.70 an hour by Autumn 2015, increasing it further to £8 an hour by the end of 2020. In addition, they propose to increase the tax free personal allowance to £12,500, allowing anyone earning less to be exempt from paying income tax. They also plan to encourage to payment of the Living Wage in businesses that can afford it.
The Conservatives have promised to create an additional three million apprenticeships over the next parliamentary term.
The Conservatives propose to tighten labour market regulation to cut down on illegal working and exploitation and to get tougher on employers who do not pay the National Minimum Wage.
No details have been provided as yet, but the Conservative Party have pledged to halve the disability employment gap, aiming to get more disabled people into employment. They also propose to promote gender equality by requiring larger companies of 250 or more employees to publish the difference between the average pay between male and female employees.
Public sector termination payments
The Party plans to end 'taxpayer-funded six-figure payoffs' for public sector workers, and has previously indicated capping public sector enhanced redundancy payments of £95,000. In addition, they propose to bring into force s154 to 156 of the SBEEA 2015, which will provide for the repayment of public sector exit payments in certain circumstances.
Fir for work
The Government propose to encourage employees suffering from long-term but treatable conditions (eg obesity or addictions) back into work by reducing their benefits if they refuse any recommended treatment and also providing support to those suffering with mental health problems preventing them from working.
We will keep you updated with all employment law changes as and when they happen.