What does the general election result mean for employment law and workers rights

Here’s what you need to know

Alan Price, Employment Law and HR Director of Peninsula comments on the General Election result

The election was called by Theresa May to provide her with a greater Conservative majority to ensure her mandate for negotiating Brexit was robust. The democratic voters, however, appear to have rallied against this and the election will result in a hung Parliament where the Conservatives are the biggest party with no overall majority.

One of the most concerning aspects of the election for employers is likely to be what this means for the UK leaving the EU. Some experts are saying that it is now likely a “softer” Brexit will be carried out as the Conservatives campaigned on the basis of a “hard Brexit” and the public did not provide them with the support to carry this out. With some key Conservatives against leaving the single market, and the EU ready to negotiate, there are suggestions that Brexit will be delayed or postponed. 

Other important points of the election campaign are likely to be continued by the Conservatives as there is general support for change in these areas. Ensuring rights for workers in the ‘gig economy’ is an important focus for any future government and the Conservative-commissioned Taylor report in to modern employment practices will report on these areas. Although the Conservative manifesto was silent on zero-hours contracts, in contrast to the other parties, Taylor has indicated that he will recommend a right to request zero hours contracts.

The Conservatives also campaigned on the basis of increasing workplace family rights through creating a statutory right to time off for carers and child bereavement leave; increasing the National Living Wage to 60% of median income by 2020 and amending disability laws to ensure short-term mental health conditions are protected. For now, businesses and employers are likely to find themselves in a further period of uncertainty until the future government and employment law initiatives are confirmed.

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