The general election takes place today! So, what are the main points of the party’s manifestos?

They promise significant changes that HR leaders should note. Policies focused on extending workers’ rights, closing skills gaps, and improving childcare are among the top priorities.

Labour Party

Workers’ Rights: Labour aims to modernise employment laws, introducing reforms such as banning zero-hours contracts, ending fire-and-rehire practices, and ensuring day-one rights for sick pay, parental leave, and unfair dismissal. A new enforcement body will be established to uphold these regulations.

Skills Development: Labour plans to create Skills England, a public body to enhance training opportunities. They propose guaranteed apprenticeships or training for 18-to-21-year-olds, overhauling the apprenticeship levy to a Growth and Skills Levy, and reforming the immigration system to link it with skills policy.

Addressing Economic Inactivity: Labour intends to integrate Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service, improve support for disabled people, and encourage hiring ex-offenders. They also propose a Race Equality Act to enforce equal pay for ethnic minority workers and mandatory pay gap reporting for large employers.

Conservative Party

Pay and Tax: The Conservatives promise a 2p cut to national insurance by 2027 and the abolition of the main national insurance rate for the self-employed. They will continue aligning the National Living Wage with two-thirds of median earnings and maintain national insurance relief for employers hiring veterans.

Skills Initiatives: A notable Conservative proposal is the introduction of national service for school leavers, offering military or community service. They also plan to fund 100,000 apprenticeships and implement the Advanced British Standard qualification to bridge the gap between A levels and T levels.

Economic Inactivity: The Tories pledge free childcare for working parents of children aged nine months or older by September 2025, overhaul the sick-note process, reform benefits, and impose stricter sanctions on long-term benefit claimants.

Liberal Democrats

Workers’ Rights: The Lib Dems aim to increase employee ownership of businesses, revise fiduciary duties to include employee welfare, and introduce a ‘dependent contractor’ status with more rights. They propose higher minimum wages for zero-hours contracts and easier pension savings for gig workers.

Skills and Training: The party plans to replace the apprenticeship levy with a flexible skills and training levy, increase apprentice pay, and offer lifelong skills grants. They advocate for a merit-based visa system to address skills shortages.

Support for Parents and Carers: The Lib Dems will extend parental leave and pay to the self-employed, double statutory maternity and shared parental pay, and require employers to publish parental leave policies. Carers will receive protection under the Equality Act 2010.

Diversity Initiatives: They propose mandatory reporting on workplace diversity and pay gaps, blind hiring in the public sector, and additional support for neurodiverse employees. They also aim to close the disability employment gap with a targeted support strategy and an “adjustment passport” for disabled workers.

As HR leaders assess these proposals, they will find comprehensive strategies aimed at improving worker conditions, enhancing skills training, and fostering workplace diversity and inclusion.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.