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The Top 10 Questions Employer’s are Asking Around Labour’s Employment Law Changes

July 10, 2024 | By: Sean Douglas

Following Labour successfully winning the election and their planned, extensive employment law changes set to go through Parliament, here are the top ten questions employers are asking:

1. How should we prepare for the potential abolition of the 2-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims?

To prepare for the abolition of the 2-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims, it is advisable for employers:

  • Review and update existing employment contracts to ensure they include robust probation and termination clauses.
  • Implement comprehensive induction and training programs for new hires to minimise performance issues.
  • Establish clear and fair disciplinary and grievance procedures that are consistently applied to all employees from day one.
  • Document all employment-related decisions and actions meticulously to provide evidence of fairness in case of disputes.
  • Consider increased use of settlement agreements to resolve potential disputes early and avoid tribunal claims.

2. What steps can we take to ensure fair procedures and processes are in place to prevent unfair dismissal claims from day one?

To ensure fair procedures and processes:

  • Develop clear and consistent HR policies that are communicated to all employees.
  • Train managers and HR staff on fair disciplinary and dismissal procedures.
  • Conduct regular performance reviews and provide constructive feedback to employees.
  • Maintain accurate and detailed records of all employment-related interactions and decisions.
  • Seek external legal advice periodically to ensure that policies and procedures comply with current employment laws.

3. How can we adapt our contracts and employment practices to comply with stricter regulations for gig economy jobs?

To adapt contracts and practices:

  • Review and revise existing contracts to align gig workers’ rights with those of full-time employees.
  • Ensure compliance with minimum wage, sick pay, and holiday pay regulations for gig workers.
  • Implement systems to track working hours and conditions accurately for gig economy workers.
  • Provide clear communication and training to gig workers about their rights and benefits.
  • Work with legal experts to restructure contracts and ensure all employment practices comply with the new regulations.

4. What measures should we implement to respect the right to disconnect and prevent employee burnout?

To respect the right to disconnect:

  • Develop and communicate a clear policy outlining the right to disconnect, including specific non-working hours.
  • Train managers to respect employees' non-working hours and avoid contacting them outside of these times.
  • Implement tools and systems to manage communication, such as scheduling emails to be sent during working hours.
  • Encourage a culture of work-life balance by promoting the importance of disconnecting and taking breaks.
  • Regularly review and update the policy to ensure it remains effective and compliant with any new legislation.

5. How can we effectively prepare for the proposed Employment Tribunal reforms to minimise legal risks?

To prepare for Employment Tribunal reforms, it is advisable for employers to:

  • Stay informed about the latest legal developments and proposed changes.
  • Audit current HR practices and policies to identify areas that need improvement.
  • Invest in training for managers and HR staff on compliance with employment laws and tribunal procedures.
  • Maintain thorough and accurate records of all employment decisions and actions.
  • Consider legal insurance to cover potential costs associated with Employment Tribunal claims.

6. What strategies should we use to engage more proactively with trade unions under the enhanced rights proposed by Labour?

To engage proactively with trade unions:

  • Establish regular communication channels with union representatives.
  • Develop and implement clear policies for union recognition and collective bargaining.
  • Involve unions in decision-making processes related to employee welfare and workplace conditions.
  • Provide quality training for managers on effective union engagement and negotiation techniques.
  • Foster a collaborative workplace culture that values and respects the role of trade unions.

7. How can we manage the transition if zero-hour contracts are banned?

To manage the transition:

  • Review the current workforce structure and identify roles that rely on zero-hour contracts.
  • Develop alternative contractual arrangements that provide more job security while maintaining flexibility.
  • Communicate transparently with affected employees about the changes and their implications.
  • Seek advice on compliance and best practices for transitioning away from zero-hour contracts.
  • Consider offering part-time or flexible contracts to retain the necessary flexibility while complying with new regulations.

8. What are the best practices for restructuring our workforce if fire and rehire practices are outlawed?

For restructuring without fire and rehire, it is advisable for employers:

  • Develop a strategic workforce plan that includes clear criteria for role changes and redundancies.
  • Communicate openly with employees about the reasons for restructuring and the processes involved.
  • Explore alternative methods for making necessary changes, such as voluntary redundancy or redeployment.
  • Seek legal advice to ensure compliance with employment laws and avoid potential legal challenges.
  • Implement fair and transparent procedures for any necessary workforce changes.

9. How should we handle the potential increase in statutory sick pay and its extension to self-employed workers?

To handle increased SSP and its extension, it is advisable for employers to:

  • Review and update sick leave policies to ensure they comply with the new requirements.
  • Implement systems to track and manage sick leave effectively.
  • Communicate changes clearly to all employees, including self-employed workers who may now be eligible.
  • Work with legal and HR experts to ensure all processes and documentation are compliant with the new regulations.

10. What policies should we implement to ensure compliance with the proposed ban on unpaid internships and the payment for travel and sleepover hours?

To ensure compliance, it is advisable for employers:

  • Develop and enforce a policy that ensures all internships are paid unless they are part of an educational program.
  • Implement systems to track and compensate travel time and sleepover hours accurately.
  • Review current internship programs to ensure they meet the new legal requirements.
  • Communicate the new policies to all employees and interns to ensure understanding and compliance.
  • Work with legal advisors to update contracts and agreements to reflect the new requirements.

By proactively addressing these questions, employers can better prepare for Labour's proposed employment law changes, ensuring compliance and minimising potential risks.

HR and Employment Law can be extremely tricky to navigate and without an in house solicitor it can prove very difficult to abide by and keep up to date and comply with ever changing legislation. Employment Law issues can soon snowball if they are not dealt with effectively.  The subsequent claims could easily land you in legal trouble and worse, hit your business hard financially. If you need more information about the upcoming changes or how we can help and protect your organisation please call us on 03333 215 005 or directly email us via:

About the Author
Sean Douglas
Sean Douglas
Sean Douglas, Author at Wirehouse Employer Services