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General election results and their employment law implications

21 July 2015

Who would have thought that the pollsters would get it wrong? Now that the dust has settled on the result of the general election we can consider some of the Conservative party’s key pre-election pledges in relation to employment law.

Whilst there is no guarantee that these promises will result in changes to the law (even if they were carved in stone), they give a good indication of the direction of reform of the new government and likely implications for employers.

You will probably recall that all the main political parties made pre-election promises relating to the protection of workers under zero-hour contracts. The Conservatives made it clear that the contracts themselves are not inherently bad, but there was scope for them to be misused – in particular through exclusivity clauses.The ban on the use of exclusivity clauses was introduced at the end of May 2015, no doubt due to the extensive media attention the issue attracted.

On the controversial question of tribunal fees, the government recently announced the start of the post implementation review. The review will consider how effective the introduction of fees has been in meeting the original financial and behavioural objectives, while maintaining access to justice. The review is expected to be completed later this year.

The pledge to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017 will be a dominant issue for the new government. For employers, the outcome of the referendum will have a significant impact in light of the number of employment rights derived from or impacted by EU law – working time, transfer of undertakings and collective redundancies to name but a few. It will certainly be a question of ‘watch this space’ alongside the proposed plans to introduce a British Bill of Rights.

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