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General Election 2010 & Businesses: What would each party do for your company if they are elected?

With the General Election just days away, Park City have put together this guide for you that highlights what the three largest parties plan to do for UK businesses if they are elected, with special attention paid to changes in
employment law:

THE LABOUR PARTY

Since 1997, Labour has introduced the minimum wage, a statutory right to paid holidays, rights for part-time workers and Corporate Manslaughter Legislation.

  • Labour will raise employers National Insurance Contributions by an extra 1% for every business paying anyone over £5,700.
  • From 2011, agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment on basic working and employment conditions after 12 weeks in a job, such as; pay and holiday entitlement.
  • Employers are no longer allowed to use tips to make wages up to the minimum wage.
  • Labour promises to tackle the employment and exploitation of illegal migrant workers through tough financial penalties on employers who deliberately break the law.
  • Labour will introduce a £40 a week “Better off in work” guarantee.
  • The national minimum wage will increase in line with average earnings.
  • More advanced apprenticeships and Skills Accounts for workers to upgrade their skills.
  • 200,000 jobs will be created through the future jobs fund, with a job or training place for young people who have been out of work for 6 months. Benefits will be cut after 10 months if they refuse to take part.
  • Anyone unemployed for more than two years will be guaranteed work, but no option of life on benefits.
  • Labour will end the default retirement age, allowing workers to decide when to retire.
  • Paternity leave will be extended from 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Labour will introduce a new toddler tax credit of £4 a week from 2012 to support parents.
  • Labour are also committed to narrowing the gender pay gap by increasing transparency using the Equality Bill.
  • An expansion of free nursery places for two-year-olds and 15-hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for 3 and 4 year olds to encourage parents to return to work.

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

If the Conservatives win the election they promise to reduce red tape, reduce the number of regulators, simplify employment law and abolish some taxes on business.

  • The Conservatives will use a ‘One in, One Out’ rule for new business legislation, so that when any new regulations are brought in, there is an equal reduction in old laws.
  • The Conservatives would support minimum wage legislation.
  • The Conservatives believe that the Agency Workers Directive could adversely affect workplace flexibility. For this reason they would only implement the minimum requirements and delay implementation until we see how other member states implement the directive.
  • The Conservatives would create 100,000 apprenticeships a year.
  • There will be no increase in red tape without a cut in costs and burden elsewhere.
  • The Conservatives would introduce ‘Sunset Clauses’ in that regulations and quangos would cease to exist after a set period unless they can prove their usefulness.
  • The right to request flexible working would be increased to all parents with children under the age of 18.
  • The Conservatives would introduce a new system of flexible parental leave so that parents can decide how to divide paid maternity leave between them.
  • The Conservatives have pledged to reduce the budget deficit this year, rather than waiting for stronger economic recovery.
  • A one year pay freeze will be introduced on the public sector for all but the lowest paid employees.
  • The Conservatives have also suggested imposing a compulsory and non-refundable deposit on Employment Tribunal claimants to help reduce the number of spurious claims by disgruntled employees. The Conservatives argue that the current system heavily favours claimants (rather than companies) and is heavily weighted in their favour.

THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY

The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) promise to reduce red tape and manage the introduction of new regulations by adopting a ‘One in, One Out ‘ policy.

  • The Lib Dems have stated that they will put ‘Sunset Clauses’ into every new business regulation so that every new regulation would have to come back to Parliament for renewal after a certain period of time and would require justification to continue.
  • The Lib Dems would remove the three rates of national minimum wage as they believe that everyone should be paid the same for doing a job, whatever your age.
  • The Lib Dems would pursue an equality agenda by requiring companies to undertake equal pay audits. If a pay gap is found to be more than 5% between men and women, then that company must take action to narrow this gap.
  • A ‘Name Blanking’ policy will be introduced on job applications, so that people with ‘non-English sounding names’ are not discriminated against.
  • £55-a-week allowance will be paid to anyone undertaking an internship for 3 months. This will be for up to 800,00 places.
  • The Lib Dems would end the compulsory retirement age.
  • The income tax threshold will be increased to £10,000.
  • Any ‘Gold-plated’ regulations that come from Europe will be independently checked to establish the cost to the UK economy before being established.

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