Now that the dust has settled on last week’s election result, it’s a good time to revisit the Conservative manifesto to get a sense of the employment changes that may be afoot once Boris has delivered on his promise to “get Brexit done”.
The Conservative manifesto contained fewer radical proposals than Labour’s. With a strong family focus, their stated aim was to improve family’s working lives in a way which better mirrored their personal lives and to maintain the status quo of employee rights in other areas. The Conservatives’ family-friendly proposals included:
- A consultation on making flexible working the default position unless employers had a good reason for refusal
- Permission for parents to take extended leave for neonatal care
- Looking at ways to make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave
- Extending protection against redundancy to working mothers
Towards the end of their campaign, the Conservatives undertook to review proposals, due to come into effect in April, to shake up the IR35 regime for the private sector. The proposed introduction of off-payroll rules into the private sector has been an unpopular measure in many quarters, a point which wasn’t lost on any of the main political parties in their electioneering. The Conservatives’ promised review will consider the prospect of thousands of contractors being placed into ‘false-employment’ and the anticipated hike in project costs for existing and new projects – such as hospital construction. The smart money is on the Government continuing with the proposed legislative change with, or without, a short delay.
Immigration was another important facet of the Brexit debate and the Conservative’s manifesto contained a clear commitment to ensure that EU nationals living and working in the UK would remain under the Settled Status scheme, and enjoy the same rights and freedoms that existed pre-Brexit. After Brexit, it’s all change; the manifesto confirmed that freedom of movement for EU nationals would come to an end, with no preferential treatment or rights to non-EU nationals. A brave new world awaits with the introduction of a new points-based immigration system intended to ‘fix’ the current regime. Quite how that points-based system will sit alongside the current visa system is still to be worked out and communicated, but it’s sure to be (and feel) very different and present a series of challenges for employers reliant on labour from outside the UK.
If you’re a business facing a difficult HR legal challenge, or you are a senior executive wanting to pursue a grievance or legal action regarding your personal employment situation, and want to take decisive action, please get in touch with Tiggy, Emma or our team of other employment experts to receive the benefit of their advice.