Political parties have recently released their manifestos ahead of the UK snap election being held on the 8th June. While Brexit, taxes and the NHS have dominated much of the debate, we take a look at what the Labour Party and Conservative Party manifesto’s say about the workplace in regards to employee safety and wellbeing.
Safety and Worker Rights
With the possibility of Brexit now a reality, many people have been left wondering whether there will be any changes to workplace safety laws. Fortunately, both parties have committed to protecting the regulations currently in place as well as pledging to improve safety through the following policies;
- Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part time or full time, temporary or permanent.
- Strengthen safety at work inspections
- Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination
- Abolish employment tribunal fees so that all workers have access to justice
- Ensure Britain abides by the global labour standards of the ILO conventions
- Reinstate protection against harassment from third parties, such as clients and suppliers
- Reintroduce road-safety targets and set out bold measures to improve safety standards – to work towards a transport network with zero deaths
- Make worker representation on boards for listed companies compulsory
- Work with employers to encourage new products and incentives to improve the mental health and wellbeing support available to their employees
Pay & Working hours
Wages can have a significant impact on quality of life and ultimately employee wellbeing in and out of the workplace. It is estimated that the real living wage rate for those across the UK is £8.45 and £9.75 in London. The current minimum wage rate stands at £7.50 for over 25’s and £7.05 for under 25’s.
Here’s what the Labour and Conservative Parties have to say;
- Increase the minimum wage to match the level of Living Wage – expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020. This would apply to all workers aged 18 and over instead of 25 and over, as it stands for the current minimum wage
- End the Public Sector pay cap
- Ban zero hour contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week and anyone working regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have the right to a regular contract
- Ban unpaid internships
- Review redundancy arrangements and potentially increase statutory redundancy pay.
- Raise the national living wage in line with average earnings by 2022, with an expected target of £8.75 by 2020.
Holiday & Leave
Annual leave provides workers with the chance to recharge, spend time with friends and family and prevent them from being worn out and unproductive at work.
Maternity, paternity and sick leave, provide employees with the time they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Which is of course crucial to wellbeing. Here’s what the 2 parties have to say;
- 4 additional public holidays to mark England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s national patron saints’ days – so that “workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries”
- Double paid paternity leave from 2 weeks to 4 and increase paternity pay
- Consult with employers and trade unions on the introduction of statutory bereavement leave
- Grant workers a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative – in order to protect their jobs
- Two weeks of paid leave to parents who lose a child
A trade unions (otherwise known as labour union) is an organisation of workers who come together to protect and improve upon employee rights and working conditions. A trade union’s leadership will work with employers on behalf of union members to negotiate workplace conditions, contracts and policies.
The Labour Party is a strong supporter of trade unions and have outlined several policies within their manifesto to ensure unions can operate effectively.
- Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – to reach a collective agreement that covers all workers
- Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can speak to members and potential members
- Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer
- Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – the practice of using information on a worker’s union membership to discriminate during the hiring process
- Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions
Equality in the workplace
- Enforce equal pay auditing on large employers to close the pay gap for women, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities
- Extend the time period for applying for maternity discrimination to the employment tribunal from three to six months
- Work with the HSE to make a workplace risk assessment for pregnant women mandatory
- Review support for women who have had miscarriages
- Implement the Parker Review recommendations to increase ethnic diversity on the boards of Britain’s largest companies
- Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (developed by the previous Labour Government) into UK law
- Legislate to make terminal illness a protected characteristic under the Equality Act
- Work with employers, trade unions and public services to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and in society. Neurodiversity refers to variation in the human genome that results in neurological differences such as autism and ADHD
- Extend current pay gap reporting requirements so that larger employers would be required to publish race pay gaps as well as gender pay gaps.
- Aim to get one million more people with disabilities into employment over the next 10 years while providing employers with the support they need to hire and retain those with disabilities
- Look into ways to make civil service recruitment more diverse in terms of gender, race and social class