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What do we need to know about the Labour Party’s proposed employment law reforms?

By May 28, 2024Employment

Following the announcement that there will be a general election on 4 July 2024, Natalie Howitt has reviewed the Labour party’s green paper which outlines its proposed reforms to current employment law.  

Labour have promised that these changes will be implemented within the first 100 days of office. So, let’s look at some of the changes… 

1. Employees will have protection from unfair dismissal as a day one right. 

Currently, in order for an employee to pursue an ordinary unfair dismissal claim against their employer, they must have been employed for two years. Under Labour’s proposed changes, they are looking to make protection from unfair dismissal a day one right. As well as this, they are also looking to remove the cap on compensation for ordinary unfair dismissal, which at the moment is one year’s pay or £115,115, whichever is the lower.  

2. Statutory sick pay from day one 

Statutory sick pay is currently only available to those employees who have been on a period of sick leave for three days, with statutory sick pay being payable from the fourth day. Again, Labour is planning to make this a day one right for all workers, which includes the self-employed.  

3. Reforming employment law status 

At present there are three types of employment status: employees, workers and self-employed, each with differing employment rights associated. Labour’s proposal is to have only one status of worker, who will have the same basic levels of protection and rights. Self-employed individuals will remain their own category.  

4. Banning zero-hours contracts 

Labour intends to ban zero-hour contracts as well as banning contracts that do not provide for a minimum number of guaranteed working hours. Further, if as a worker you work a regular shift pattern for 12 weeks or more, you will have the right to a regular contract.  

5. Increasing wages 

Labour also intends to increase the national minimum wage to at least £10 per hour for all workers, as well as pledging that this will be consistently reviewed in line with the cost of living.  

6. Banning ‘fire and rehire’ practices 

Currently, the Conservatives have proposed reforms on this practice following the backlash of P&O Ferries. However, Labour intends to go one step further and ban this practise. Instead, they intend to improve the information and consultations procedures as an alternative.  

7. Tribunal claim time limits 

In order to bring an employment tribunal claim at present, you must do so, usually, within three months. Labour however do not believe that this is a sufficient amount of time to present a claim and are looking to extend the time limitation period beyond three months. 

Employers will need to pay close attention to these proposals on the basis that Labour intends to introduce an employment bill before 12 October 2024. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the proposals ahead of the general election please contact a member of the employment team at 

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Natalie Howitt

Author Natalie Howitt

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