General Election 2019 – Party Manifestos on Employment Law and Industrial Relations

Published on: 22/11/2019





This week, the UK’s political parties are releasing their manifestos for the general election on 12 December 2019.

In a series of 5 blogs we will be detailing each parties’ pledges on matters effecting employment, starting today with Labour.


Set out in their manifesto from page 59, Labour’s key pledges are:


  • Introduce a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 or over
  • Require large companies to give their employees “Inclusive Ownership Funds” so that up10% of such companies become owned by their employees
  • Pilot a “Universal Basic Income” (no details provided)
  • Provide additional rights for the self-employed, including free childcare, full fibre broadband, collective income protection insurance schemes and better access to mortgages and pensions schemes
  • Set up a Ministry for Employment Rights which will roll out sectoral collective bargaining across the economy on minimum standards such pay and working hours which every employer in such sectors must follow
  • Eradicate the distinction between employees and workers so that all staff who are not genuinely self-employed are given the new status of ‘worker’
  • Provide all ‘workers’ with full employment rights from day one of employment (this is not explained further but we presume this means that the two years’ qualifying service employees must have currently to bring an unfair dismissal claim will be eradicated for example)
  • Introduce a legal right to collective consultation on implementation of new technology in workplaces
  • Strengthen protection for whistle-blowers and strengthen unfair dismissal rights (no detail given)
  • Ban zero-hour contracts
  • Require breaks during shifts to be paid
  • Give all workers the right to flexible working
  • Extend statutory maternity pay from 9 months to 12 months and double paternity leave to 4 weeks
  • Introduce four new bank holidays
  • Re-introduce employer's liability for harassment by third parties
  • Ban unpaid internships
  • Strengthen trade union rights, including rights of access to workplaces, repealing the Trade Union Act 2016 and increase protections for trade union representatives
  • Reduce average working hours to 32 hours per week within 10 years and remove the ability to opt-out of the Working Time Regulations meaning that no worker can consent to working more than 48 hours a week
  • Introduce a new “workers protection agency” to enforce workplace rights
  • Require 1/3 of company boards to be reserved for elected worker-directors
  • Require workplaces with over 250 employees to obtain government certification on gender equality or face fines, this threshold will lower to workplaces with 50 employees over time
  • Extend pay-gap reporting for BAME groups
  • Introduce mandatory disability pay-gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees
  • Introduce 10 days of paid leave for survivors of domestic abuse


To speak to one of our experts on how these proposed changes could affect your business click here.

Look out for our other blogs in this series which will detail employment law pledges from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and the Brexit Party.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.