Hard Labour Guide to UKEmplaw election pledges

Set out below is a table of Employment Law -related commitments made by each of the parties in the run up to the 2015 Election. It will be updated as each party further defines its manifesto. If you represent a party you are welcome to contact us to fill in a gap or clarify a commitment. However, any information you provide must be party policy and have been made explicit publicly so that a reference can be added to allow it to be checked by readers independently.

Plaid Cymru

Low Pay

Green
  • “Increase the minimum wage so that it is a living wage.””We propose a minimum wage target for everyone who is working in the UK of £10 per hour by 2020. In 2015 this would mean a minimum wage of £8.10 an hour generally (and £9.40 in London), saving 2.4 billion a year in tax credits and generating an additional £1.5 billion a year in income tax and National Insurance. This would be offset by £0.7 billion additional costs in the public sector” [Reference]
Conservative
  • “We strongly support the National Minimum Wage and want to see further real-terms increases in the next Parliament. We accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission that the National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 this autumn, on course for a Minimum Wage that will be over £8 by the end of the decade.” [Reference]
  • “We will also take further steps to eradicate abuses of workers, such as non-payment of the Minimum Wage …” [Reference]
  • “We also support the Living Wage and will continue to encourage businesses and other organisations to pay it whenever they can afford it.” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  • A proposal will be made to the Low Pay Commission for a “single national minimum wage for 16 to 17-year-olds in work and first year of apprentices” [Reference]
  • “Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the
  • National Minimum Wage, without damaging employment
  • opportunities.” [Reference]”We will improve enforcement action and clamp down on abuses by employers seeking to avoid paying the minimum wage by reviewing practices such as unpaid internships.” [Reference]
  • Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a
  • fair Living Wage across all sectors. [Reference]
  • We will … by 2020, extend transparency requirements to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay. [Reference]
Labour
  • NMW to increase to £8 per hour by October 2019. [Reference]Increased fines for employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. [Reference]
  • Introduction of “Make Work Pay” contracts – tax rebate to employers who sign up to pay the living wage in 2015. [Reference]
  • Listed companies to be obliged to report on whether or not they are paying the living wage. [Reference]
  • Government contracts to be used to “spread payment of the living wage”. [Reference]
  • We will give local authorities a role in strengthening enforcement against those paying less than the legal amount [Reference]
UKIP
  • “Enforce the minimum wage and reverse the Government cuts in the number of minimum wage inspectors in both England and Wales.” [Reference]
Plaid Cymru
  • “Plaid Cymru will increase the minimum wage to be the same level as the Living Wage over the next Parliament. This will ensure a pay rise for more Welsh workers by 2020.” [Reference]
SNP
  • “We will vote to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020. We will also support measures to extend the Living Wage across the UK.” [Reference]
  • “SNP MPs will work with Scottish ministers to help ensure 500 organisations are signed up to the Living Wage Accreditation Scheme within the next year, by becoming local living wage champions in their constituency. And through guidance on procurement, the SNP will work to ensure all suppliers to the Scottish Government also pay the living wage.” [Reference]

High Pay

Green
  • Enforce a cap on bankers’ bonuses. [Reference]
  • “[We will] introduce a maximum pay ratio of 10:1 between the best paid and the worst paid in every organisation.” [Reference]
Conservative
Lib Dem
  • “We will … consult on [a] requirement to consult staff on executive pay.” [Reference]
Labour
  • “We will improve the link between executive pay and performance by simplifying pay packages, and requiring investment and pension fund managers to disclose how they vote on top pay. And we will make sure employees have a voice when executive pay is set by requiring employee representation on remuneration committees.” [Reference]
UKIP
Plaid Cymru
  •  A ‘fair pay’ scheme will be introduced to link the pay of everybody within a company, to prevent spiraling executive pay whilst other staff receive no pay rise, following a commission to determine the most appropriate level of comparable renumeration” [Reference]
SNP

Working Time

Green
  •  “Phase in a 35-hour working week.” [Reference]
Conservative
Lib Dem
Labour
UKIP
  • UKIP will amend working time rules to give trainee doctors, surgeons and medics the proper environment to train and practise. [Reference]
  • “Some EU directives, such as the Working Time Directive, need amending because they actively restrict the British work ethos and therefore our economy, but UKIP will protect workers’ rights” [Reference]
Plaid Cymru
SNP

Atypical Workers

Green
  • “End exploitative zero hours contracts” [Reference]
  • “End the exploitation of interns, and ensure that no unpaid full-time internship lasts more than four weeks.” [Reference]
Conservative
  • “We will also take further steps to eradicate abuses of workers,  such as … exclusivity in zero-hours contracts and exploitation of migrant workers.” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  • “Liberal Democrats understand that flexible employment contracts – including Zero Hours contracts – can work well for employees and businesses. But that is not always the case and we will continue to stamp out abuse. We will create a formal right to request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time.” [Reference]
Labour
  • Those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract. [Reference]
  • Prohibition of exclusivity provisions for zero hours workers. [Reference]
  • Compensation from employer for zero hours workers whose shifts are cancelled at short notice.[Reference]
  • “… ensure agency workers are properly protected and that there are no exemptions from equal treatment on pay including by ending the Swedish derogation from the Agency Regulations” [Reference]
  • A Labour Government would introduce “legislation banning companies from offering unpaid work experience for more than four weeks and forcing them to pay such young working people at least the minimum wage.” [Reference]
UKIP Repeal the Agency Workers Directive. [Reference]Because UKIP recognises that zero-hours contracts suit many people, we will not ban them. We do, however, take a very dim view of their abuse and will introduce a legally binding Code of Conduct stipulating the following:• Businesses hiring 50 people or more must give workers on zero-hours contracts either a full or part-time secure contract after one year, if the workers involved request it
• There must be no exclusivity clauses in any zero-hours contract. To prevent people from working elsewhere when they have no guarantee of regular work, will be banned
• Workers on zero-hours contracts must be given at least twelve hours advance notice of work. Once notice has been given, they must be paid for the work, regardless of whether or not they are actually needed. Employers will not be permitted to expect a worker to turn up for work, only to be turned away again, when no work is available. [Reference]
Plaid
  • “We want to end exploitative zero hours contracts that tie workers to a company while not giving them a guaranteed weekly income.” [Reference]
 SNP
  • “We will support efforts in the next parliament to end unfair and exploitative zero-hour contracts, with a time-limited consultation, which fully involves businesses and the trade unions, to agree the most effective way forward” [Reference]

Public Sector Workers

Green
  • Protect the pay, conditions and status of professionals in health and education. [Reference]
Conservative
Lib Dem
  • “We will pay this Living Wage in all central government departments and their agencies from April 2016, and encourage other public sector employers to do likewise.” [Reference]
Labour
UKIP
Plaid Cymru
SNP
  • “The Scottish Government already pays the Living Wage to all of its own employees and to those covered by its pay policy – we will call on, and vote for, the UK government to adopt the same policy.” [Reference]

Discrimination and Equalities

Green
  •  “Make equal pay for men and women a reality” [Reference]
Conservative
  • “… we will aim to halve the disability employment gap: we will transform policy, practice and public attitudes, so that hundreds of thousands more disabled people who can and want to be in work find employment.” [Reference]
  • “We want to see full, genuine gender equality. The gender pay gap is the lowest on record, but we want to reduce it further and will push business to do so: we will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  • “Name blank” application forms for public sector jobs [Reference]
  • Ensure swift implementation of the new rules requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish details of the different pay levels of men and women in their organisation. [Reference]
  • “We will … consult on [a] requirement for companies to conduct and publish a full equality pay review …” [Reference]
Labour
  • “The next Labour Government will go further in reducing discrimination against women, requiring large companies to publish their gender pay gap and strengthening the law against maternity discrimination. Where there is evidence more progress is needed, we will enforce the relevant provisions within the Equality Act.” [Reference]
UKIP
  • Allow British businesses to choose to employ British
    citizens first. [Reference]
  • Restrict access to EURES, the EU-wide jobs portal that has become the “go-to” source for employers looking for cheap labour from overseas” [Reference]
  • End the availability of EU relocation grants of up to E1,000 for migrants to come and work in Britain. [Reference]
Plaid Cymru
  •  “We will ensure that men and women are paid the same for comparable work.” [Reference]
SNP
  • “… ensure that women are fairly treated at work with action to secure equal pay” [Reference]
  • “We will demand early action on equal pay audits for big companies to increase the pressure to deliver equal pay for women across the UK.” [Reference]
  • “We will push for 50:50 representation on public and private boards …” [Reference]

Employment Tribunals and Enforcement

Green
  •  Reduce Employment Tribunal fees so that tribunals are accessible to workers [Reference]
Conservative
  • “We have already helped small businesses by … reducing the burden of employment law through our successful tribunal reforms …” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  • NMW enforcement section of HM Revenue and Customs; Working Time Directive Section at the HSE; the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate; and the Gangmaster Licensing Authority will all be combined into a new “Workers’ Rights Agency” [Reference]
  • Improve the enforcement of employment rights, reviewing Employment Tribunal fees to ensure they are not a barrier. [Reference]
Labour
  • The Conservatives have introduced fees of up to £1,200 for employment tribunal claimants, creating a significant barrier to workplace justice. We will abolish the Government’s employment tribunal fee system as part of wider reforms to make sure that affordability is not a barrier to workers having proper access to justice, employers get a quicker resolution, and the costs to the tax payer do not rise.  [Reference]
  • Extend remit of Gangmasters Licensing Authority. [Reference]
UKIP
Plaid Cymru
  • “We will review the current levels of Employment Tribunal Fees implemented by the UK Government, whose high costs prevent workers from getting access to justice.” [Reference]
SNP
  •  Impact of fees to be reviewed [NOTE: ET will devolved to Scotland] [Reference]

Human Rights / ECHR

Green
Conservative
  • “The next Conservative Government will scrap the Human Rights Act, and introduce a British Bill of Rights. This will break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, and make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK.” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  •  “A second Freedoms Act will have embedded citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and protest. The Human Rights Act will remain, with children’s rights protected in law too.” [Reference]
Labour
  • “A Labour Government will stand up for citizens’ individual rights, protecting the Human Rights Act and reforming, rather than walking away from, the European Court of Human Rights.” [Reference]
UKIP
  • We will remove ourselves from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights: the Strasbourg Court whose interpretation of the European Convention of Human Rights has been known to put the rights of criminals above those of victims. Our own Supreme Court will act as the final authority on matters of Human Rights.We will also repeal Labour’s Human Rights legislation. It has given European judges far too much power over British law making and law enforcement and prevented us deporting terrorists and career criminals and from implementing whole-life sentences.Our human rights will be enshrined in law via the introduction of a new, consolidated UK Bill of Rights. This will complement the UN Declaration of Human Rights and encapsulate all the human and civil rights that UK citizens have acquired under UK law since Magna Carta. This new UK Bill of Rights will apply across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. [Reference]
Plaid Cymru
  • “We support the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on  Human Rights, and will oppose any moves by a UK Government to withdraw from those.” [Reference]
SNP

Trade Union Rights and Workplace Representation

Green
  • “Revive the role of democratic trade unions, including the right to belong to a union and have the employer recognise it, and the right to take industrial action, including strikes and peaceful picketing” [Reference]
  • “End blacklisting. We will set up a full investigation into blacklisting in the construction industry and consider the creation of a new criminal offence.” [Reference]
  • “Give workers a greater say in the running of their companies, including employee elected directors in medium and larger companies.” [Reference]
Conservative
  •  “Strikes should only ever be the result of a clear, positive decision based on a ballot in which at least half the workforce has voted. This turnout threshold will be an important and fair step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions. We will, in addition, tackle the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services by introducing a tougher threshold in health, education, fire and transport. Industrial action in these essential services would require the support of at least 40 per cent of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots – as well as a majority of those who actually turn out to vote.” [Reference]
  • “We will also repeal nonsensical restrictions banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide essential cover during strikes; and ensure strikes cannot be called on the basis of ballots conducted years before.” [Reference]
  • “We will tackle intimidation of non-striking workers; legislate to ensure trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions; tighten the rules around taxpayer-funded paid ‘facility time’ for union representatives; and reform the role of the
    Certification Officer.” [Reference]
Lib Dem
  • “Protect the rights of trade union members to have their subscriptions, including political levies, deducted from their
  • salary, and strengthen members’ political freedoms by letting
  • them choose which political party they wish to support through
  • such automatic payments. We will encourage wider participation
  • in trade union ballots through electronic voting.” [Reference]
Labour
  • Public enquiry into blacklisting in the construction industry. [Reference]
  • “We will make sure employees have a voice when executive pay is set by requiring employee representation on remuneration committees.” [Reference]
UKIP
Plaid Cymru
  • “Supervisory boards of major companies who employ more than 500 staff will include elected employees, to ensure scrutiny of the management in the interests of the company as a whole, building on established practices in industrially successful countries such as Germany.” [Reference]
  • Plaid Cymru will create an Independent Commission to consider industrial relations policy and will legislate against “blacklisting” [Reference]
SNP

8 thoughts on “Hard Labour Guide to UKEmplaw election pledges

  1. Pingback: Hard Labour’s guide to UKEMPLAW election pledges | Hard Labour
  2. I’ve also spotted from the Labour Manifesto, the following “Easter Eggs”;
    – doubling paternity leave from 2 to 4 weeks plus £100 pay increase (page 58);
    – Strengthening the law against maternity discrimination (page 67); and
    – Requiring large companies to publish pay gap (page 69).

  3. As Scotland was begged to remain “part” of the UK and SNP are therefore one of the UK parties, do they have anything to say about employment law issues ? Or was no check carried out perhaps because it did dot occur to anyone ? Am genuinely interested.

  4. Pingback: Are there really no votes in employment rights? | Hard Labour
  5. Pingback: Election pledges: discrimination, equality, human rights and ET reform | Michael Rubenstein Blog
  6. This is the policy of the Christian Peoples Alliance taken from the CPA manifesto 2015 http://www.cpaparty.net:-
    The CPA would take the following measures.

    1. Force companies to pay bonuses to all employees pro rata. If a Company has done well then all employees have played a part in that not just a few managers. If bonuses are paid to all employees then they will be taxed at the marginal rate of tax with no national insurance payment being added. If they are not applied to all employees then the taxation rate will be double the marginal rate meaning a tax of 80% for top earners under the CPA new tax regime mentioned earlier.
    2. Where shares are allocated to Company employees these must also be allocated pro rata to all employees for tax benefits. If the shares thus allocated are retained for a minimum period of 3 years then the profits will be free of capital gains tax. If the shares are allocated to a few employees and not to all then their value at the time they are given will incur double capital gains tax on their sale with no threshold allowable for these sales. We will also consult on ways to change the shareholding system so that shares held by employees have greater voting rights than shares held by institutions. We want all employees to have a greater say in the running of their company.
    3. We will clamp down on tax avoidance by making it illegal to offset losses from one company against the profit of another. In future each company will have to be stand alone and if necessary loss making companies will have to close down. At the moment some people have created loss making companies as a way of tax avoidance. We also want a full independent public enquiry into 1) why HMRC failed to prevent systematic tax evasion through HSBC, 2) Failed to prevent MTIC fraud over a period of 15 years or more. The cost of the enquiry will be dwarfed by the benefit to the Treasury of stopping tax evasion and fraud.
    4. We will also undertake international discussions on preventing companies sending profits abroad to avoid tax. We will consult on introducing a turnover tax on companies such as a 5% company VAT payment so that every company that trades in the UK pays some tax and multi nationals that have the highest turnover pay most tax. This turnover tax would apply to all trade with no exception. For small companies we would allow that payment to be offset against Corporation tax. The purpose of it is to make sure every Company pays tax and it is not possible to avoid all tax by sending profits abroad. A turnover tax would stop this. Increased revenue will be used for capital investment.
    5. In the public sector we will undertake a review of pay rates to seek to reduce the pay differentials. We see no need at all for large salaries to be paid to public servants.
    6. We will consult internationally on introducing a new rating scheme for executives along the lines of the Standard & Poors rating of Companies. At the moment executives are valued according to how much they are paid which has led to obscene salaries. We believe if a proper rating scheme is introduced this can become the measure of excellence, not the amount of pay. This measure can help reduce differentials and help employees to relate better to senior executives.
    7. Company pension schemes will continue to be given tax relief and encouraged but a threshold will be placed on the amount of tax free benefit that can be paid into a Company pension scheme for an employee at £30,000 per tax year without incurring corporation tax. Sometimes these benefits have been used to make enormous payments to executives tax free. If those executives are over 55 they can effectively be receiving a massive tax free payment as 25% of the fund could immediately be drawn tax free. The idea of promoting Company pensions is to help those in retirement across the board not as a tax loophole.

    1. We will review the minimum wage set at £6.50 per hour from October 2014 for adults over 21 and increased by just 20p in the 2015 budget. The CPA aims to increase this to £8 per hour as soon as practically possible following consultation. London will need to be higher as the cost of living is greater. KPMG have said a living wage is £8.80 per hour there and we support this.(16) We believe this is a key factor in our drive to care for the poor and reduce poverty.
    2. We will make zero hours contracts illegal except for employees under 21 or over 65. These distort the workforce by tying someone to a job from which they may be receiving no income at all and makes it very hard for them to find other work. Agencies are available for employers to get workers at short notice. The only reason for zero hours contracts is to have a reserve of cheap labour. It must stop. Where 0Hrs contracts do continue for the under 21s or over 65s anyone called in must be paid for at least 2 hours work.
    3. Where benefits are used to avoid taking responsibility and finding work then they can be counter productive to the community but we will always make sure that the poorest are cared for.

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