What now? Five things that should be on every SME employer’s to-do list now that Labour have power

The polls were right. Labour has a landslide victory and that means a busy, and largely unwelcome to-do list for SME employers.

Labour’s intentions are no secret, their manifesto told us what was in store, much of it promised within the first 100 days of power. That gives them until October at the latest to deliver, although enacted legislation may take longer to come into force.

From national minimum wage rises to more power for the unions, far greater tribunal rights to statutory sick pay from day one, we have all the policy detail covered for you in our comprehensive election hub, so do check it out if you are not up to speed.

But aside from the policy detail, you will want to know where it impacts you, where you need to be giving your attention. Here are the top areas to be looking at.

1. Ensure you stay abreast of the latest news

We feel that things will move quickly now, as per Labour’s timetable. So ensure you have good sources of information, like your trusted HR adviser. Keir Starmer has indicated that he will delay Parliament’s summer recess so they can get business done, but not every idea they included in their manifesto is a done deal. Some will be consulted on, some may be adjusted and some may fall by the wayside, so pay attention to know what actually happens and when.

2. Amend your contracts

Your employment contracts are the bedrock of your relationship with your employees, and as you take on new staff it will be a priority to ensure your contracts are compatible with Labour’s proposals. Think things like a ban on certain zero-hours clauses and statutory sick pay being available from day one of absence for starters.

We are on hand to conduct a review for you if you would like professional help and we do recommend this to ensure you get it right. For Advice Line retained clients, we will be doing this automatically and will be in touch accordingly.

3. Review your current policies

Of course, side-by-side with your employment contracts is your company handbook – the document that tells staff “how we do things around here” and which provides all the policies through which you run your business.

Similarly to your employment contracts you will now need to review these to ensure that they remain legal and relevant. Again, we can do this for you as a special project, or automatically in the case of Advice Line clients as part of the retained service.

4. Start planning management training

Your contracts and policies set down on paper what happens, but it is your managers who actually implement it. Therefore you will need to make sure that they are up to speed with the day-to-day workings of new employment law – for instance if Labour follows through with its proposal to grant employees a legal right to switch off.

5. Adjust your mindset

The tone of employment law will be markedly different in the coming years, with a balance of power swinging more in favour of employees. For example, it is proposed that there will no longer be a two-year qualification period for raising a tribunal claim if they feel unfairly treated, and unions will have far greater freedoms to name but two of the big changes coming. It is important to be mentally prepared for this, as it will influence your recruitment practices, employee relations and workflows.

Here to help

The HR Dept represent the voice of the SME business owner, and with offices across the country can help you navigate the complex times ahead. If you would like to find out more about our retained Advice Line service (which, significantly, comes with tribunal indemnity insurance), or would just like to discuss a one-off project, please get in touch with the team.

How can we help?