With Parliament in what can only be described, at best, as a state of flux at the moment, and the threat of a general election looming, several announcements which were made at the recent Labour Party Conference are of interest in the employment sense.
The Conference which took place last month in Brighton, saw the Party announce some proposals for reform of current employment law. The proposals build on previous promises made by Jeremy Corbyn earlier in September to create a new Ministry for Employment Rights and a Workers’ Protection Agency. Underpinning this fairly radical proposal is a desire to strengthen workers’ rights and to swing the balance of power away from employers.
Key proposals from the Conference include:
-A shortening of the working week to 32 hours with no loss of pay within ten years of a Labour government assuming power.
-An increase in the number of collective bargaining schemes.
-Plans to increase workplace support for menopausal women, including the introduction of flexible working and a requirement that employers with over 250 employees provide their managers with specific training on the effects of the menopause and steps which they can take to accommodate the needs of affected employees.
-Re-categorising the menopause as a “long-term fluctuating health condition” which could make it easier for affected employees to satisfy the requirements of the disability provisions contained within the Equality Act 2010.
Although there will clearly be a lot of water to go under the “European” bridge (or over the Channel Tunnel?!), before any of the major political parties are able to turn their attention to matters of employment law in the meaningful sense, the Labour Party has nevertheless set its basic position out at this stage. In the event that the Labour Party do therefore secure power at any point in the relatively near future then there is likely to be changes which the country’s employers may need to take into account in the course of its operations. Howarths is abreast of all relevant political developments and shall provide timely updates to all clients accordingly to ensure support with compliance.