Hello and thank you for joining us for our June newsletter. We hope you are enjoying the lovely weather (finally) and reading this with an ice cream in hand!  Last week, we looked at the right to be accompanied and commercial sense. This month, in our roundup of employment related news stories we’ve got for you, the upcoming general election, a police chief dismissed for gross misconduct, PWC “silent severances” and in our lighter side of the news, a French woman who was paid in full for two decades despite not working!                                            


For those of you that missed our May newsletter you can find it here.

General Election – 4th July 2024

Next week there is a general election. If the polls are reliable (which they often are not) then we are likely to have a new Government and Prime Minister. Whilst employment issues are not always the top of the debate and news agenda they do form a significant part of party manifestos. Whilst nearly every party, including Reform Party in their manifesto, have erroneously alluded to reforming the “Equalities Act” we have summarised some of the more pertinent issues below.


For anyone keen to find out more about the UK employment law and HR landscape post-election please click
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Labour Party

Unfair Dismissal Right:

Make unfair dismissal a day one right (subject to probation clauses).

Genuine Living Wage:

Increase the minimum wage to a real living wage reflecting the cost of living.

Remove age bands for the minimum wage to create one flat rate.

Enforce compliance through the Single Enforcement Body and HMRC.

Ensure travel time is included in sectors with multiple working sites and wage regulations and contracts reflect the law.

Secure Work:

Promote flexible working as the default from day one, unless unfeasible.

Embrace technology for the benefit of workers and the economy.

Support for Workers:

Modernise trade union legislation to remove unnecessary restrictions.

Foster cooperation between trade unions, employers, and the government.

Reduce strike days by improving industrial relations.

Ban Exploitative Zero Hour Contracts:

Ensure job security and predictability by banning exploitative zero-hour contracts.

Guarantee contracts reflect regular working hours based on a 12-week reference period.

Conservative Party

Tax Cuts for Workers:

Reduce National Insurance by 2p and cut employee national insurance to 6% by April 2027, resulting in a tax cut of £1,350 for workers earning £35,000 annually.

No increases in VAT or income tax.

Abolish main rate of National Insurance for self-employed by the end of the next Parliament.

National Living Wage:

Maintain National Living Wage at two-thirds of median earnings, potentially increasing it to £13 an hour.

Equality Act 2010 – Definition of “Sex”:

Clarify that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act 2010 means biological sex to ensure single-sex spaces.

Free Childcare for Working Parents:

From September 2024, offer 15 hours of free childcare per week for children aged 9 months to 2 years, increasing to 30 hours per week from September 2025.

Invest £300 million in the childcare sector by September 2026.

Overhaul of Fit-Note Process:

Shift responsibility for issuing fit notes from GPs to specialist work and health professionals.

Minimum Service Level Legislation:

Continue implementing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 to manage the impact of industrial action on public services.

Mandatory National Service:

Reintroduce National Service for all 18-year-olds, offering either a volunteering role or a year-long paid military service.

Lifelong Learning Entitlement:

Provide adults with loans to cover new qualifications to support training and upskilling throughout their careers.


Fund 100,000 high-quality apprenticeships by reducing the number of poor-quality university degrees.

Liberal Democrats

Gig Workers’ Rights:

Create ‘dependent contractor’ status with basic rights (minimum earnings, sick pay, holiday entitlement).

Review tax and National Insurance for gig workers.

Increase minimum wage for zero-hours contracts by 20% during normal demand.

Allow zero-hours and agency workers to request fixed-hours contracts after 12 months.

Parental Rights:

Make parental pay and leave day-one rights, extend them to self-employed parents and kinship carers.

Double Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week.

Increase paternity leave pay to 90% of earnings, add an extra ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ month for fathers.

Require large employers to publish parental leave and pay policies.

Carers’ Rights:

Add ‘caring’ and ‘care experience’ as protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

Guarantee regular respite breaks for unpaid carers.

Disability Rights and Sickness Absence:

Extend Statutory Sick Pay to low earners and align it with the National Minimum Wage.

Introduce ‘Adjustment Passports’ for disabled workers.

Other Measures:

Require large employers to publish diversity data and set diversity targets.

Extend name-blind recruitment in the public sector.

Allow flexible working as a day-one right.

Promote employee ownership in large companies.

Replace the apprenticeship levy with a flexible skills and training levy.

So, that’s a roundup with a lot of implications for employers to consider. In particular the removal of the minimum service requirements for unfair dismissal claims in the labour manifesto will ensure probation clauses and reviews become a much bigger part of the induction and management process or result in a surge in tribunal claims. Disclaimer: Other parties’ manifestos are also available—just like a new season of your favourite show, there’s something for everyone!

Police Chief Dismissed for Gross Misconduct

Recently we saw the report of Nick Adderley, the Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable, reporting that he has been dismissed without notice and added to the police barred list for gross misconduct. He falsely claimed military service in the Falklands War, exaggerated his naval achievements, and wore an unearned medal. The panel, led by a former serviceman, found his deceit “staggering” and his explanations “risible.”

Adderley had falsely claimed 10 years of Royal Navy service and various military roles, including as a negotiator in Haiti. He also lied about attending the Britannia Royal Naval College and the South Atlantic medal he wore since 2012 was given to him by his brother when he emigrated to Australia in 2008. The medal was awarded for service in the Falklands conflict, but his brother did not embark for the Falklands until July 1982, which was three weeks after the conflict ended.

Despite being directed by the Chair to attend, Adderley missed the hearing but issued an apology through a statement. The panel confirmed breaches of honesty and integrity, with full reasons to follow in a written report. The case has raised concerns about vetting procedures, and discussions with the home secretary are planned for improvements. There is a certain irony in an organisation whose primary purpose is to detect crime and deceit allowed a real-life Walter Mitty to ascend to the top of the organisation!

The IOPC has referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for potential criminal charges.

PwC UK “silent severances”

PwC UK has initiated “silent severances” instructing affected staff to keep hush the reason for their departure to colleagues. Employees who choose to leave under the new voluntary severance program are provided with a “suggested wording” for their goodbye messages and are prohibited from mentioning the severance offer or their reasons for leaving.

This program, which has not been officially announced internally, affects the consulting, risk, operational, and managed service divisions in London and Belfast. Staff who have been offered the severance package are notified individually and must follow HR-provided scripts for their farewell notes. These messages must avoid derogatory remarks about PwC and its employees or partners, and their timing and content are subject to business approval.

PwC stated that this approach allows the firm to adapt to changing client demand and maintain entry-level recruitment. The initiative follows the reduction of about 600 roles last year and is consistent with the firm’s usual practice for “targeted voluntary severance,” which provides an enhanced package compared to compulsory redundancy.

This move comes as all of the big four accountancy firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC – have cut hundreds of jobs in the UK in response to the economic downturn and decreased demand for some of their services. Given the severance are supposed to be silent it is a tad ironic that they have made national news. More importantly, this practice is not wholly dissimilar from agreed announcement in a settlement agreement which are often offered in lieu of collective redundancy processes.

Lighter Side of the News

A French woman, paid in full for two decades despite not working, is suing for harassment and discrimination. Ex-Orange employee Laurence, who some might say had a dream job, claims it’s “very hard to bear.”

Laurence, a HR assistant with severe health issues including epilepsy and paralysis, received her salary but couldn’t work. Despite her pay, she struggled financially and faced eviction. Employed by France-Télécom (now Orange), her role was adapted for her disability, but her request to transfer regions in 2002 led to complications.

Orange’s occupational medicine report deemed her position unsuitable, leading to her being placed on standby, sick leave, and eventually offered retirement. Despite this, she continued to be paid without work assignments. Laurence calls herself an “outcast secretary,” alleging Orange wanted her to quit.

In 2015, a mediator was appointed after her complaint to the government, but little changed. Laurence feels isolated and depressed, stating, “Being paid, at home, not working is not a privilege.”

Orange claims to have done everything to ensure she worked in the best conditions and planned a return to work in an adapted position, but Laurence’s frequent sick leaves prevented this.

Looks like Laurence’s job truly was all pay and no work, but she’s far from thrilled with this arrangement!’