How a UK government change could impact your business

UK Government Change: photo shows 10 Downing Street - two windows and the black door

Is 2024 the year of a UK Government change?

The Labour Party has shared their plans to change laws if they win the next general election on July 4, 2024. The “Make work pay” plan offers a positive approach, rather than sounding like a punishment. The party wants to provide a new deal for working people.

The Labour Party has gained support from 121 businesses by presenting themselves as a “pro-business” organisation. Iceland’s founder Malcolm Walker, former Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye and Jimmy Wales Wikipedia founder have all signed a letter backing Labour for the 2024 general election.

What does the UK Government change mean for your business?

We have read through the Labour Party’s policy document, to provide you with a summary of potential changes. The party has vowed to pass the policies through within 100 days of office. Changes will come in various areas, impacting operations, finances, and employment practices. Changes include;

Minimum wage

With the cost of living increasing rapidly, Labour proposes increasing the minimum wage to meet these costs. Looking at improving living standards by ensuring full-time employees can afford necessities. 

Businesses must review budgets and payroll systems to facilitate higher wages and how this impacts business profits.

Employment rights for job security

Implementing stronger employee protections may involve a shift away from zero-hour contracts and emphasising permanent full-time roles. As stronger protections come in, businesses will need to review their hiring practices and contracts of employment.

Improved support for SMEs

The UK Government will introduce support measures for SMEs, including funding access, business development programs, and reducing bureaucracy. Aimed at helping smaller businesses grow and compete at a higher level.

Businesses must keep themselves updated on new programs and be aware of the application processes.

Day one right for unfair dismissal

In Great Britain, employees must work for two years before they are protected from unfair dismissal. In Northern Ireland, this period is only one year. The Labour Party plans to eliminate this two-year requirement.

The aim? To improve worker protection and job security, furthermore, ensuring no unjust terminations.

Employers must ensure fair dismissals and include strong documentation from day one of employment. Employers may need to provide clearer documentation of any performance issues.

Right to disconnect

Labour may implement the right to disconnect from work within the first 100 days if they form the new UK government. This policy lets employees avoid checking work emails and answering calls outside of their scheduled work hours without facing consequences. Employees are not required to be available for work-related communication outside of their designated work hours.

They will not be penalized for not responding to work emails or calls during their personal time. This policy promotes work-life balance by respecting employees’ time outside of work.

Employers will only be allowed to contact employees outside of contracted hours for emergencies. Emergency including safety issues, legal matters or client/customer crises which may lead to reputational damage and/or significant financial loss. This policy aims at reducing stress and pressure on employees which may be causing burnout. The Labour government want to create a better work-life balance for employees.

In 2024, workplace incentives have changed. The UK economy is experiencing skill shortages in various industries. To tackle this problem, a new boot camp has been introduced.

Check out the Recruitment and Beyond podcast on Right to Disconnect.

Re-introducing Skill boot camps for skill shortages

The UK Government has announced new skill boot camps to support industries currently struggling with employee shortages. Mel Stride the Work and Pensions Secretary announced the new scheme on 21st May 2024, the scheme is set to offer support to various struggling industries. This includes; construction, logistics, hospitality, care, and manufacturing.

These boot camps are expected to come into force alongside the Labour Party’s 100-day policy implementation period. The exact dates and implementation have not been confirmed.

Employers experiencing skill shortages threaten operational capacities, impacting their ability to grow. The boot camps aim to boost the UK economy by equipping employees with essential skills to fill industry gaps. Businesses should leverage resources taking advantage of any resources or support provided to integrate the new employees in the workplace.

Previous Skill Bootcamps

In 2021, a similar scheme was created to tackle the shortages of HGV drivers, leading to food shortages across the UK. The government removed the “red tape” holding back domestic recruitment and created targeted skills and job centre training schemes to decrease the shortage of drivers.

The success of previous boot camps created a blueprint for the government moving forward, focusing on specific industries and skills that may help address the shortages quickly and effectively.

It looks like 2024 is going to be another challenging year for businesses as they try to navigate employment laws that seem to be ever-changing the modern workplace. Especially as we suspect a UK Government Change. We cannot recommend enough to have HR on your side, having an external HR team reduces biases and brings more expertise to your business.


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