The general election has resulted in a hung parliament where no party has the 326 seats needed to get an overall majority in the House of Commons.
However, May has refused calls to do so and has confirmed that she will form a minority government.
Speaking outside of No 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “We will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in particular.”
It is believed that there will be no formal coalition between the Conservatives and the DUP but more of a “confidence and supply” arrangement where the Unionists will offer their support on vital matters in return for some of their policies being enacted.
Theresa May’s promise of the “greatest expansion of worker’s rights in history” will now be called into doubt and there will be more uncertainty for workers and employers who are concerned about a post-Brexit future.
The Conservatives’ aims for workers’ rights within their manifesto included an 11 point plan consisting of the following pledges:
The party have said they will stick by pledges made in David Cameron’s 2010 manifesto to cut net migration to “tens of thousands” and they would double the immigration skills charge levied on companies employing migrant workers to £2000 by 2022.
They will also enact the Great Repeal Bill, which converts EU law into UK law, meaning existing workers’ rights would continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU.
There has been no mention of a review on employment tribunal fees unlike promises from the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties to scrap them completely.
It seems clear from the government’s stance to date on tribunal fees that they are very likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
Conservatives confirmed that the national living wage will rise under their leadership “in line with average earnings by 2022”. Its commitment to this rate increasing to 60% of median hourly earnings by 2020 (around £8.75) remains.
Workers will have a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative. The party has also said it will improve the use of shared parental leave and help companies to offer more flexible working environments.
Taxes and Pensions
The personal income tax allowance will be increased to £12,500 with the higher tax rate starting at £50,000.
After scrapping plans to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, Chancellor Philip Hammond has not ruled out future rises.
Worker Representation on Company Boards
Other measures in the party’s plans include representation for workers on company boards, although the plans do not go as far as previous suggestions that employers could be forced to appoint employees to boards.
13,000 existing technical qualifications will be replaced with new qualifications, known as T-levels, in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science.
DTM Legal’s Employment Law Associate, Tom Evans, says: “Both the Conservative and Labour parties had strong proposals to protect/ enhance workers’ rights within their manifestos. For me the key difference however is the approach to employment tribunal fees and with the Conservatives still in power, for the moment, it is highly likely tribunal fees will remain which will be welcome news for employers. Employers should however keep their eye on employment law changes as, if Theresa May stands by her word, then a large number of employee friendly changes could be implemented over the coming months and years”.
DTM Legal’s Employment & HR team work closely with employers of all shapes and sizes from start-ups to large international businesses and is focused on providing bespoke practical and commercial advice.