UK General Election: what do the party manifestos mean for HR?

8 min read  |   18 June, 2024   By Aimée Brougham-Chandler

A polling station sign is shown next to Big Ben, the Elizabeth Tower clock of the Palace of Westminster, against a white overcast sky.

We know there’s a lot of noise around the upcoming General Election. We also know small business HR teams are (very) busy, and have already been dealing with legislation & policy changes.

If a new government is voted in on 4th July 2024, there might be more admin for pressurised HR teams.

But don’t worry - we’ve got you covered with a summary of the key information people professionals need to know.

We’ve already covered the main changes the Labour Party proposed previously, but it’s important to provide a fair comparison of what other parties are proposing, especially now manifestos have been released.

Staying politically neutral, we’ve covered a summary of the Conservatives, Labour & Liberal Democrats parties’ proposals, in terms of what could impact HR.

We’ve scoured their manifestos, so HR teams don’t have to.


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Key Conservative Party manifesto proposals that could impact HR:

Here’s a summary of the Conservatives' main proposed changes that could affect HR, from their manifesto:


Tax & National Insurance

  • The Conservatives are proposing to cut employee National Insurance to 6% by April 2027, and have said they won’t raise the rate of income tax or VAT

  • Keep the business VAT threshold under review (after previously raising the VAT threshold to £90,000)

  • Maintain the National Living Wage in each year of the next Parliament at two thirds of median earnings



  • As previously detailed, eligible parents of children between 9 months & 2 years old will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare a week, under the Conservatives.

  • From September 2025, all eligible parents with children from 9 months old to school starting age will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week.



  • The Conservative Party say they’ll overhaul the fit note process to get more people staying in or getting back to work, rather than being signed off as ‘not fit for work’. This would involve taking the responsibility of issuing these away from GPs and allowing healthcare professionals to issue these instead.


Updating the Equality Act 2010

  • The Conservative Party will also introduce legislation defining that the protected characteristics of 'sex' under the Equality Act would refer to biological sex.


Bills currently underway:

In terms of what would most impact HR, here’s a list of parliamentary Bills that are currently underway, under the previous Parliament/Conservative government:



Key Labour Party manifesto proposals that could impact HR:

Labour have detailed in their manifesto that their Plan to Make Work Pay will be delivered in full, introducing legislation within 100 days, should they get into power.

We’ve covered the impact of Labour’s proposed changes to employment law in this article, but here’s a summary of the key changes for HR:

  • Creating a single ‘worker’ status – giving workers & employees the same rights

  • Banning exploitative zero-hours contracts

  • Ending fire & rehire

  • Introducing rights to parental leave, sick pay & protection from unfair dismissal from day one of employment

  • Ensure the National Minimum Wage is a genuine living wage & remove ‘discriminatory’ age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage

  • Introducing the legal ‘right to disconnect’ after working hours for employees


Proposed HR changes also covered in Labour’s manifesto are:

  • Strengthening rights to equal pay & protections from maternity and menopause discrimination, as well as sexual harassment, and reducing the gender pay gap

  • The introduction of a Race Equality Act, which would give black, Asian & other ethnic minority people the legal right to equal pay

  • Plans to reform the Work Capability Assessment to support disabled people into work

  • The opening of an additional 3,000 nurseries (by refurbishing space in primary schools) to deliver the extension of government-funded childcare hours



Key Liberal Democrats Party manifesto proposals that could impact HR:

Here's what HR needs to know about the Lib Dems' manifesto proposals:


Jobs, skills & pay

  • Apprenticeships would be paid at least the National Minimum Wage by scrapping the lower apprenticeship rate of pay

  • The Lib Dems want more people to get into work, including carers, parents & disabled people by utilising technology and new ways of working

  • Introduce a duty of care for the environment & human rights in business operations & supply chains

  • Introduce a genuine living wage across all sectors, by establishing an independent review (government departments & all other public sector employers would be leaders in paying this)

  • Zero-hours & agency workers would have the right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months or more, (which won’t be permitted to be unreasonably refused)



  • The Liberal Democrats would shift the burden of proof in employment tribunals from the individual to the employer (where employment status is concerned).


Parental leave & pay

  • The Lib Dems would provide parental leave & pay rights given to employees from day one of employment, removing qualifying periods. This right would also be extended to self-employed parents.

  • Statutory Maternity Pay & Shared Parental Pay would be doubled to £350 per week, and an extra ‘use it or lose it’ month would be introduced for fathers & partners, paid at 90% of earnings.


Statutory Sick Pay reforms

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) would be made available to the more than one million workers earning less than £123 per week, and aligning SSP with National Minimum Wage

  • SSP would be paid from the first day of missing work, rather than the 4th (as it currently stands)

  • Support for employers around SSP costs, providing consultation on the best way to do this

The Liberal Democrats would also increase Carer’s Allowance & expand it to more carers (whilst stopping pursuing carers for old overpayments of Carer’s Allowance).


Supporting SMEs through change

Whilst no one knows what will happen after the election, our priority remains supporting SMEs as much as possible.

Breathe’s purpose is to help small businesses put their people (and their businesses) first – which matters even more through times of uncertainty & change.

Breathe’s secure document management functionality can take the headaches out of compliance with policy changes. HR can see who’s read a document (and who might need a nudge).

Breathe’s network of trusted Partners will be happy to support with potential upcoming changes or legislation over the coming months.

Disclaimer: Breathe isn’t politically affiliated to any party. This article is intended to provide factual HR information – not an attempt to influence any political views or decision-making.


Author: Aimée Brougham-Chandler

An IDM-certified Digital Copywriter (2023) & English Language & Literature graduate (BA Hons), Aimée is Breathe's Content Assistant. With 3 years' content marketing experience, Aimée has a passion for writing - and providing SME HR teams with solutions to their problems. She enjoys delving into & demystifying all things HR: from employee performance to health and wellbeing, leave to company culture & much more.

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