Polling day round-up: The main parties' manifestos and HR
Beckett Frith and Jenny Roper, June 08, 2017
What is each political party pledging around employment, talent and pensions?
Today the people of the UK are heading to the polls to cast their votes in the 2017 general election. So which of the major parties' policies will affect HR?
All the main parties have focused on employment matters and worker rights as fertile ground for winning votes – perhaps more than ever before.
"As workers’ rights and benefits have come under greater scrutiny than ever because of Brexit, the various parties are suggesting a host of changes to benefits and rights," legal adviser at employment law specialists Law At Work Paman Singh told HR magazine.
“Labour has proposed a radical revamp of workers’ rights, including ‘day one’ employee protections and a ban on zero-hours contracts. The Conservatives intend to replicate the gender pay gap reporting regime by implementing an ethnic pay gap reporting scheme. The Liberal Democrats intend to set a quality benchmark for employers to achieve, while the SNP supports the repeal of the Trade Union Act 2016."
Here's our detailed round-up of who's pledging what:
The Conservative party will:
- Introduce a national retraining scheme. Under it the costs of training will be met by the government, with companies able to use the apprenticeship levy to support wage costs during the training period
- Continue the campaign for fairer corporate governance. The party has stated that there will be new rules for takeovers and executive pay, with proposals around annual shareholder votes on pay packages and a requirement to publish pay ratios
- Reduce the 'triple lock' on pensions to a 'double lock', with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation
- Not increase VAT, but scrap a 2015 election pledge not to raise income tax or National Insurance
- Make universities that are charging maximum tuition fees sponsor academies or help found free schools
- Retain all workers' rights currently guaranteed by EU law
- Put worker representation on listed company boards
- Introduce a statutory right to a year's unpaid leave to care for a relative, and statutory leave for parents whose child has died.
The Labour party will:
- Ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships
- Raise the minimum wage to £10 by 2020 and scrap the public sector pay cap
- Abolish university tuition fees
- Offer an immediate guarantee about the status of EU nationals in the UK
- Stop all planned increases to the state pension age after 66
- Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether they're part time or full time, temporary or permanent
- Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining
- Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces
- Abolish employment tribunal fees
- Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay
- Strengthen protections against unfair redundancy for women
- Create a million "good jobs" and rebalance the regions through setting up a National Investment Bank (which will leverage enough private finance to invest £250 billion in infrastructure over 10 years), a network of regional development banks, and a national transformation fund
- Add four new public holidays per year.
The Liberal Democrats will:
- Initiate a second EU referendum, with an option to remain in the EU
- Expand Shared Parental Leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off with young children
- Unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK
- Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board
- Introduce a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships, and using name-blind recruitment
- Introduce a right for those on zero-hours contracts to request a fixed contract. The party would also consult on rights to request more regular working patterns
- Aim to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices.
The Green Party will:
- Phase in a four-day working week with a maximum of 35 hours
- Scrap age-related wage bands and raise the national minimum wage to living wage levels for all
- Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income
- Introduce a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts
- Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid
- Ensure a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards are women
- Abolish the cap on National Insurance contributions so the wealthiest pay more
- Provide free early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age seven
- Initiate a referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU
- Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens living in the EU.
- Declare 23 June Independence Day, and make it a bank holiday
- Introduce a flexible state pension window, so people can opt to retire earlier for a lower state pension or work longer for a slightly higher pension, as is the case at the moment
- Bring forward legislation requiring employers to advertise jobs to British citizens before they offer them overseas.
The SNP will:
- Devolve to allow Scotland to have its own policies after Brexit
- Guarantee a living wage to all adults aged 18 and over
- Lobby for the scrapping of the Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year
- Call for the full reinstatement of the Post-Study Work Visa scheme, which allows foreign students to stay in the UK after graduation
- Increase free childcare to 30 hours a week by 2020
- Ensure companies engaging in blacklisting or 'exploitative' zero-hours contracts are barred from publicly-procured contracts
- Incentivise oil and gas businesses to invest in renewables to protect jobs in the energy sector.
Plaid Cymru will:
- Maintain trade ties with Europe to protect up to 200,000 jobs, and guarantee the rights of Europeans currently living and working in Wales
- Ensure a "real, independently verified" living wage
- Guarantee employment, education or training for any person under 25 looking for work
- Train and recruit an additional 1,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses for Wales
- Introduce free, full-time nursery places for three-year-olds
- Introduce a specific visa scheme for Wales to plug skills gaps
- Ensure a 'living pension' for all, fight to guarantee the triple lock, and oppose increases in the state pension retirement age.