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Archive for April, 2015

General Election 2015: Party Manifestos and Employment Law

27/04/2015 | Rima Mehay
  With the election fast approaching here is an overview of the various employment related policies set out in the main party manifestos. Pay and Hours Conservatives Accept th

 

With the election fast approaching here is an overview of the various employment related policies set out in the main party manifestos.

Pay and Hours

Conservatives
  • Accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission that the National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 per hour by Autumn 2015 with a view to increasing it to over £8.00 per hour by the end of 2020.
  • Support the Living Wage and encourage businessess (where they can afford it) to pay this rate.
  • Will end tax payer funded six-figure pay offs for the best paid public sector workers.
Labour
  • Will raise the National Minumum Wage to more than £8.00 per hour by October 2019. Will give local authorities a role in strengthening enforcement against those paying less than the National Minumum Wage.
  • Will support employers to pay more than the National Minumum Wage using government procurement to promote the Living Wage, alongside wider social impact considerations.
  • Publicly listed companies will be required to report on whether or not they are paying the Living Wage.
  • Will require employee representation on remuneration committees.
Liberal Democrats
  • Will ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the National Minimum Wage without damaging employment opportunities.
  • Will improve enforcement action on employers not paying National Minimum Wage by reviewing practices such as unpaid internships.
  • Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a fair Living Wage. Will pay this Living Wage in central government departments and their agencies from April 2016 and encourage other public employers to do likewise.
UKIP
  • Enforce the minimum wage and reverse the Government cuts in the number of minimum wage inspectors in England and Wales.
Green
  • Will increase National Minimum Wage so that it is a Living Wage. Proposed target of £10 per hour by 2020.
  • Phase in a 35-hour week.
  • Will introduce a maximum pay ratio of 10:1 between the best paid and worst paid in every organisation.

 

Zero Hour Contracts

Conservatives
  •  Will take steps to eradicate exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts.
Labour
  • Will ban exploitative zero hour contracts.
  • Those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have the right to a regular contract.
  • Will abolish loophole allowing companies to undercut permanent staff by using cheaper agency workers.
Liberal Democrats
  • Will continue to stamp out abuse of zero hour contracts.
  • Will create a right to request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time.
UKIP
  • Will introduce a legally binding code of conduct which states the following (i) businesses hiring 50 people or more must give workers on zero hour contracts either a full or part time contract after one year, if requested by the worker; (ii) there must be no exclusivity clauses; (iii) workers must be given at least 12 hours advance notice of work and once notice is given the worker must be paid regardless of whether or not they are actually needed.
Green
  •  End exploitative zero hour contracts.

 

Tax

Conservatives
  • No increase in rates of VAT, Income Tax or National Insurance.
  • Tax free personal allowance to rise to £12,500.
  • 40% Income Tax threshold to rise from £42,385 to £50,000.
  • Abolish employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 years of age.
Labour
  • Will introduce a 10p starting rate of tax.
  • No increase to basic or higher rates of Income Tax, National Insurance or VAT.
  • Will re-introduce the 50p tax rate.
Liberal Democrats
  • Will raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500.
  • Will bring forward planned increase in personal allowance to £11,000 to April 2016.
  • Will consider raising employee National Insurance threshold.
UKIP
  • Will raise the personal allowance to at least £13,000.
  • Will raise the threshold for paying 40% Income Tax to £55,000 and introduce a new intermediate tax rate of 30% on incomes between £43,500 and £55,000.
  • Longer term aspiration is to create an income tax structure of a basic rate of 20%, an intermediate rate of 30% and a top rate of 40%.
Green
  • Abolish the employees’ National Insurance upper threshold.
  • Raise the additional top rate of Income Tax to 60%.

 

Work and Families

Conservatives
  • Will enable married couples to transfer £1,060 of their tax free income to their husband or wife, where the highest earner is a basic rate tax payer.
  • Will increase entitlement to free childcare to 30 hours per week for 3-4 year olds of working parents.
Labour
  • Will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents for 3-4 year olds.
  • Double paternity leave from 2-4 weeks and increase paternity pay by more than £100 per week.
  • Will guarantee primary schools will provide wrap around care (after/pre-school clubs) from 8am to 6pm.
Liberal Democrats
  • Will initially provide free childcare of 15 hours per week for all parents of 2 year olds.
  • Will then prioritise 15 hours of free childcare per week for all working parents with children aged between 9 months and 2 years.
  • Will provide 20 hours of free childcare per week for all parents with children aged from 2-4 years and to all working parents from end of paid parental leave to 2 years.
  • Complete the introduction of tax-free childcare which will provide up to £2,000 of childcare support for each child.
  • Encourage employers to provide more flexible working. Will expand shared parental leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off with young children.
  • Introduce a right to paid leave for carers.
UKIP
  • Will continue to fund current childcare offer of 15 hours per week for all 3-4 year olds and all 2 year olds whose parents are on certain benefits.
Green
  • Provide a comprehensive nationwide system of good quality pre-school early education and childcare, free at the point of delivery.

 

Employment Tribunal

Conservatives
  • Consider that they have “already helped small businesses by…reducing the burden of employment law through [our] successful tribunal reforms…”
Labour
  • Will abolish the current Employment Tribunal fee system to make sure affordability is not a barrier to access to justice, employers get a quicker resolution and tax payer costs will not rise.
Liberal Democrats
  •  Will review Employment Tribunal fees to ensure they are not a barrier.
UKIP  –
Green
  •  Will reduce Employment Tribunal fees.

 

Trade Unions

Conservatives
  • A turnout threshold of at least 50% of the workforce required to vote on strike action.
  • In essential services (health, education, fire and transport) strike action would also require the support of at least 40% of those entitled to take part in strike ballots.
  • Will repeal legislation which restricts employers from hiring agency staff to provide essential cover during strikes.
  • Will prevent strikes being called on the basis of ballots conducted years before.
  • Will tackle the intimidation of non-striking workers.
  • Will introduce legislation to ensure a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions.
  • Will tighten up rules around taxpayer funded ‘facility time’ for union representatives.
  • Will reform the role of the Certification Officer.
Labour  –
Liberal Democrats
  • Will protect the rights of trade union members to have their subscriptions deducted from their salary and strengthen members’ political freedoms by letting them choose which political parties to support through such automatic payments.
  • Will encourage wider participation in trade union ballots through electronic voting.
UKIP
  • Allow employers to choose to employ British workers first.
Green
  • Will revive the role of democratic trade unions including the right to belong to a union, have the employer recognise it and the right to take industrial action.

 

Equality

Conservatives
  • Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to publish the difference in average pay of male and female employees.
  • Aim to halve the disability employment gap.
Labour
  • Large companies will be required to publish gender pay gap information.
  • Will strengthen the law against maternity discrimination.
  • Outlaw discrimination against and abuse of members of the Armed Forces.
Liberal Democrats
  • Ensure swift implementation of rules requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish details of the different pay levels of their men and women.
  • Will extend this reporting requirement to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay.
  • Will consult on requirements for companies to conduct and publish an equality pay review and to consult staff on executive pay.
  • Encourage business to ensure at least one position on their board is filled by a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidate.
  • Monitor and tackle BAME pay gap.
  • Outlaw caste discrimination.
  • Help greater numbers of disabled people work by encouraging employers to shortlist any qualified disabled candidate and providing advice about workplace adaptation.
  • Move to ‘name blank’ recruitment wherever possible in the public sector.
UKIP  –
Green
  • Work towards ending stigma against people with mental health problems, including discrimination in employment.
  • Progressively introduce anonymised CVs.
  • Ensure that the public sector does more to employ more black and minority ethnic employees.
  • Will make equal pay for men and women a reality and enforce penalties against employers who continue to implement unequal pay.
  • Require 40% of all members of public and private sector boards to be women.
  • Ensure laws to prevent discrimination against women on grounds of pregnancy and maternity are properly enforced.
  • Will provide carers with a legal right to 5-10 days paid annual leave.
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