2024 - UK General Election 2024 – Proposed Employment Law Reforms

The UK’s general election is due to take place on 4th July 2024.

This month, we’ll look at the proposed Employment Law plans and reforms set out by the two leading political parties in the race for No. 10 – the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

Please note that this blog will not analyse or quantify the proposals put forward by the parties – it aims to report on key points that our clients and readers should be aware of. 

The Conservative Party

At the time of writing, the Conservative Party has yet to announce its Employment Law plans and policies. While some plans have already been formally confirmed, prior to the announcement of the General Election, assumptions have also been made, based on press announcements made by the Conservative Party recently. It is expected that, should the Conservative win the election, the current Employment Legislation will continue, but with notable additions.

  • The Conservative Party will be introducing the right to neonatal care leave and pay, which is due to come into effect in April 2025;
  • The Conservatives have backed a bill to provide enhanced paternity leave to fathers whose partners have died in childbirth. This bill was passed to law in May 2024;
  • With a focus on reforming Fit Notes, the Conservative Party plans to free up time and pressures on GPs, by moving the responsibility for assessing ‘fitness to work’ to specialist work and health professionals. A call for evidence was launched in April 2024. However, the results of which are not due until 8th July, after the General Election;
  • It is expected that the Conservatives will re-introduce Employment Tribunal fees (fees were ruled unlawful and therefore abolished in 2017), and place a cap on the duration of non-compete clauses;
  • The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is a new legislation, due to come into force in Autumn 2024, designed to give Employees and Workers the right to request a predictable work pattern. The Act aims to protect Workers who experience a lack of predictability in their working patterns, such as Workers on zero hours contracts. Labour has a different stance when it comes to this area (more on this shortly), so it is unclear as to whether this legislation will come into force if Labour wins;
  • The Conservatives have announced that they are committed to getting Employees and Workers with health conditions back to work as a priority; and
  • The Conservatives have also stated that they will redefine the term ‘sex’ in the Equality Act to mean ‘biological sex’ (see our May 2023 blog post on this here)

The Labour Party

The Labour Party has published its ‘New Deal for Working People’, an Employment law plan that it plans to initiate within the first 100 days in government, should it win the election.  Key proposals made by the Labour Party on employment law include:

  • The Labour Party is proposing a move to a two-category framework where people are classed as either ‘Workers’ or ‘Self-Employed’. This is a move away from the current 3-category system of ‘Employees’, ‘Workers’ and ‘Self-Employed’. This would be a substantial change as currently ‘Employees’ and ‘Workers’ have variations in their rights and protections (for instance, currently only Employees can claim unfair dismissal, whereas Workers cannot). A detailed consultation would be needed to bring this change into effect;
  • Workers will be given the right not to be unfairly dismissed from day one of work (in current law, there is a two-year qualifying period). However, dismissals may still be considered fair if they occur during probationary periods that have ‘fair and transparent rules and processes’;
  • Workers will qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their sickness absence, instead of the fourth day as is currently set out by law;
  • Flexible Working would be a right for Workers from day one. Currently, Workers have a right to request flexible working, which requires a response from their Employer. This model will likely continue, but may encourage Tribunals to more closely scrutinise Employers who refuse to grant the right;
  • Parental leave, which gives parents the right to take up to 18 weeks’ leave (unpaid), at a rate of up to 4 weeks per year for each child over the course of their childhood, is currently a right after a qualifying period of one year. Labour proposes to make this a right from day one;
  • Labour plans to extend maternity leave and paternity leave;
  • Labour plans to introduce the right to bereavement leave;
  • Labour plans to urgently review the current shared parental leave framework – the current framework had an uptake of less than 1% of fathers;
  • The Party plans to make it unlawful to dismiss a woman during pregnancy or within six months of her return to work, except in specialised circumstances;
  • It plans to introduce paid family and carers’ leave;
  • Initially, a ban on zero-hours contracts was proposed, but this has since been revised to focus on new rules to prevent abuse of the practice and exploitative treatment of Employees/Workers. Further details will follow as to what is deemed ‘exploitative’;
  • Labour intends to deem the Fire and Rehire practice (used for changing an Employee’s contractual terms) unlawful and end the practice (see our previous blog post on this controversial practice)

While the Labour Party has stated that it will introduce its new Employment Rights Bill reforms within the first 100 days, it should be noted though that reforms may not come into full effect within that time – actions within this time period could just be an initiation of plans or creations of white papers. 


Whichever party wins the upcoming election, it is clear, and inevitable, that there will be significant Employment Law changes for Employers to consider when it comes to managing their people and their businesses going forward.

If you need any advice or assistance in preparation for any of the proposed changes, now or after the election, please do not hesitate to get in touch.