Labour’s 2017 Election Manifesto – For the Many, Not the Few
The Labour Party published its manifesto, For the Many, Not the Few, on 16 May 2017 setting out a 20 point plan for security and equality at work.
Labour will extend the Equality Act 2010 to make it easier for disabled people to challenge discrimination. It will introduce an independent body to ensure compliance with gender pay gap reporting obligations (a major criticism of the laws introduced in April is they lack teeth). It will also introduce an obligation on larger employers to report their ethnicity pay gap.
It will strengthen protection for women against unfair redundancy to prevent them being penalised for having children. It will also preserve the Human Rights Act and reform the European Court of Human Rights to ensure all have access to justice.
Labour also plans to reinstate liability on employers for third party harassment (abolished in October 2013).
Labour will increase the rate of paternity pay, double paid paternity leave to four weeks and extend the period of maternity pay to 12 months (from 39 weeks).
It will extend the 30 hours of free childcare to include all two year olds (and consult on extending childcare provision to include one year olds). It will also issue subsidies in addition to the free-hours entitlement.
Finally, it will introduce statutory bereavement leave.
Labour will raise the National Minimum Wage for all workers aged 18 or over to the level of the national living wage (which is currently only available to those aged 25 and over). It will crack down on employers who refuse to pay the NMW by increasing the number of prosecutions and will reinstate the Agricultural Wages Board to ensure wages and other employment standards are maintained in the food, manufacturing, farming and fisheries industries.
It will reform the pay ratio for public sector employers and those bidding for public sector contracts. The maximum pay ration between the highest and lowest paid will be 20:1.
It will also abolish unpaid internships.
Additional bank holidays
Labour will introduce four new bank holidays for workers in the UK, one for each patron saint's day. These will be in addition to the statutory holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations (28 days for a full time worker).
Zero hours and short hours contracts
Labour will ban zero hours contracts. It will also introduce legislation entitling those employed on short hours contracts (under which they are a guaranteed only a small number of hours) to switch to a “regular contract” if they work regular hours for more than 12 weeks. A “regular contract” would reflect the regular hours worked.
Employment status and rights
Labour will create a statutory definition of “self-employed, “worker” and “employee” (there is already a statutory definition of the latter two which could be amended) and shift the burden of proof so that an employer has to prove that a worker is not an employee. It will outlaw umbrella companies and other employment structures designed to limit workers’ rights.
It will extend employment rights to all workers. Shared parental pay is mentioned, but presumably this would also include unfair dismissal and other rights currently only available to employees.
Tribunal fees and claims
Tribunal fees will be abolished. Labour will also extend the time limit for bringing a maternity discrimination claim from three to six months.
Labour will repeal the Trade Union Act 2016 and increase the influence of trade unions by:
- introducing “sectoral collective bargaining”;
- giving all workers the right to union representation;
- guaranteeing all unions access to the workplace to speak to current members and recruit new members;
- only awarding public contracts to employers that recognise unions; and
- introducing electronic balloting for industrial action.
Labour will reform TUPE to protect workers’ rights and introduce a “right to own” policy, so that employees have the first right of refusal when the company for which they work is for sale.
Labour will introduce an EU Rights and Protections Bill guaranteeing all existing worker protections afforded by EU law.
Labour will institute a new system based on the country’s economic needs, balancing controls and existing entitlements. This may include employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a tailored mix of all of these. It will also protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity.
It will also abolish income thresholds for spouses of migrants and replace them with a prohibition on recourse to public funds.
For areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services, Labour will reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund and boost it with a contributory element from the investments required for High Net Worth Individual Visas.
It will not include students in migrant numbers.
Labour will end what it describes as “rip-off” hidden fees and charges and enable the development of large efficient pensions funds, so that there is more cash for scheme members and lower costs for employers.
It will guarantee the Triple Lock throughout the next parliament so that the state pension will rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year or increase in line with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher. It will also protect the pension of those living abroad and will not increase the state pension age beyond 66 (a rise which is currently scheduled to take place by 2020). It will also explore options for further transitional provisions to protect women affected by increases to the state pension age.
The manifesto also contains a commitment to amend the Takeover Code to ensure that every takeover proposal of businesses which is “systematically important” has a clear plan in place to protect pensions once the business has been taken over.
Click here to read the manifesto in full.
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