Labour Manifesto - what recruiters need to know

May162017

Earlier today the Labour Party published their manifesto for the upcoming general election. While the document is over 120 pages long, we have highlighted the key parts of the manifesto of interest to recruiters.

Rights at work

Included in the manifesto is Labour’s 20 point plan for security and equality at work. Some of the proposals from this plan which will be of most interest to recruiters are:

  • giving all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent
  • banning zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week
  • legislating to ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home
  • ending the Public Sector Pay Cap
  • rolling out maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and in companies bidding for public contracts
  • raising the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over.

Employment

There is a specific section on self-employment within the manifesto, and a number of proposals to address ‘bogus self-employment’, these include:

  • shifting the burden of proof, so that the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise
  • banning payroll companies, sometimes known as umbrellas
  • giving employment agencies and end-users joint responsibility for ensuring that the rights of agency workers are enforced, and strengthen trade union rights
  • setting up a dedicated commission to modernise the law around employment status, including a new statutory definition of employment status.

Tax

The manifesto includes a number of measures addressing taxation, the following will be of specific interest to recruiters:

  • increasing corporation tax from 19 per cent to 26 per cent
  • reinstating the lower small-business corporation tax rate
  • introducing an excessive pay levy on companies where staff are paid a salary of more that £330,000
  • scraping quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000
  • giving local government extra funding by initiating a review into reforming council tax and business rates.

Immigration

In their section on immigration, Labour have committed that they will not have a net migration target. In addition they have committed to the following measures:

  • ending freedom of movement when we leave the European Union
  • working with business, trade unions and devolved governments to identify labour and skill shortages
  • introduce a system which could include: employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a mixture of these
  • reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund
  • exclude students from the net migration figures.

Brexit

In the foreword to their manifesto they insist on the need for a jobs-first Brexit, putting our economy and living standards first. They further commit to:

  • immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain, while also securing reciprocal rights for UK citizens who live in the EU
  • scrapping the existing Brexit White Paper, while trying to retain benefits of the single market sand the customs union
  • reject ‘no deal’ with the EU as a viable option
  • replace the Great Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill, which will ensure no change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections. 

What our view?

The REC supports appropriate legislation for protecting workers and addressing rogue providers who undercut compliant businesses. An update and streamlining of the current rules is something we have been calling for, together with more targeted enforcement. One of the best ways of ensuring clarity would be to ensure the whole recruitment supply chain is regulated under the Conduct Regulations.

We will continue to underline the fact that one of the drivers for flexible working patterns is individual choice and to ensure that policy makers do not conflate zero hour contracts with agency work. Any government should not limit people’s ability to work in different ways, but ensure they are making an informed choice.

We believe all workers, including temporary staff, must be treated fairly. The rights that agency workers are already entitled to are often misunderstood and we will continue to argue that the priority should be to ensure that existing regulations are effectively enforced rather than creating more legislation.

On immigration, we want to see a policy that creates prosperity and growth for the whole of the UK by supporting our dynamic, open and inclusive jobs market. We believe it is important for government to recognise that they will still need to access people from across the EU to fill vacancies for British clients when necessary. Our members also want clear directives from the government about the status of EU nationals currently working in the UK, and British people working in Europe, as soon as possible.

These are just some of the key arguments that we will continue to take forward in the run-up to the election and in our conversations with the next government. If you would like more information on how to get involved in our campaigning work, please email Richard.Sagar@rec.uk.com

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 by:

Richard Sagar - Policy Advisor at the REC
Richard Sagar - Policy Advisor at the REC

Richard Sagar works with colleagues in the policy team to address the concerns of members across a number of sectors, including engineering, education, technical, MMCC and childcare. He also works on issues of significance across sectors including immigration and safeguarding.

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