On the eve of George Osbourne’s spring budget, an event that could determine his success as a chancellor (cue dramatic music). We thought we would look back at how successful some of the pre-election employment law policies have been, or, if they have actually been implemented.
The pre-election promises of all parties had similar goals. The Conservative party aimed to tackle the following employment law issues:
1. Significant changes to rules on industrial action making it more difficult for unions to strike
2. Raise the minimum wage to £7.00 in the near future.
3. Exclusive zero hours contracts to be scrapped.
4. Repeal of the Human Rights Act and the introduction of a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
5. Create three million more apprenticeship jobs.
The incoming Trade Union Bill, which has passed a second reading, will certainly make industrial action more difficult. It has been met with staunch criticism by certain sections of the media and trade unions alike but it will require a minimum voting threshold before industrial action is taken. Therefore, upon the passing of the bill, this policy has been achieved.
The National Living Wage, which comes into force next month, will raise the minimum wage for over 25s to £7.20. Technically this achieves the aim, however those under 25 will still be earning less than £7.00. Overall some people will now be entitled to at least £7.00 an hour but not all.
Moving onto exclusivity clauses. They have been banned and as of January 2016 employees can bring tribunal claims against employers who enforce them.
Repealing the Human Rights Act has so far been shelved after initial public wariness and scepticism. It is something the Conservatives are interested in doing so do not rule it out completely.
Creating apprenticeships is another policy that will most likely be achieved. The next budget is expected to announce no employer NIC payments for apprentices under 25, a massive incentive to employ them.
Overall it would seem the chancellor has performed well against his employment law targets. Whether his economic performance has been quite as successful is open to debate.