With the election now fully underway the 2 main parties have both come out and made commitments to make changes to employment laws if they win.
Obviously, there are some differences but both seem to aiming at the same target, gender equality, and we think this is the right thing to do. Labour has said it wants a “step change in women’s rights ” and the Conservatives have said they want “responsible reforms” to get more women in to work.
The Labour Party are proposing to increase paid maternity leave to 12 months which has been welcomed by the CBI. Currently women on maternity leave are entitled to 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, then 90% of average weekly earnings or £148.68 (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. This will also mean that men can benefit through shared paternity leave. Labour are also looking to extend the right to flexible working to allow women to demand flexible working although there are no details about this would work.
The Labour Party want to create a Workers’ Protection Agency that will fine employers that fail to report their gender pay gap and reports on how they are looking to reduce it. Currently, by law all companies, charities and public sector departments with more than 250 staff must publish their gender pay gap figures. Under he Labour proposals this would be changed to all organisations with 50 or more staff.
Labour would also look to reintroduce he protection against third-party harassment, such as clients and suppliers which has for a long while been proposed by the CBI. They want employers to publish their policies on harassment and extend the time period that a claim can be brought in an Employment Tribunal from the current 3 months to 6 months.
The Conservative Party have been critical of the :Labour plans but are looking at reforms to reduce the gender pay gap.
Iain Lock Managing Director of Q&A Law said “We await to see who is successful in the election, but we anticipate that there may well be quite a bit of change to employment law, either as a consequence of Brexit, or as a commitment to bringing equality to the work place and making employment easier for women. It would be logical to increase the paid maternity leave period to match the maximum statutory length that a person can be off. The gender pay gap proposals will mean that many many more organisations will fall under this regulation and so hopefully may increase the pressure for organisations to adjust any unequal pay terms they may have.”