What the general election means to HR teams

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As the UK heads towards a general election on Thursday the 4th of July, HR teams across the country are preparing for potential shifts in employment laws and regulations. Each of the major parties have outlined policies in their manifestos that could impact your department by better understanding these policies you can navigate any changes and ensure organizational compliance. However new policies are not the only thing for HR teams to be aware of with the chance of tension and conflict to arise amongst employees during this period.  While politics is often seen as a topic to keep private at work with employees often unlikely to discuss political views or their party of choice, however, a general election can cause these discussions to become unavoidable. 


What you should be aware of: Employment


The Conservative Party manifesto aims to introduce several changes which may impact HR departments.

Overhaul Fit Notes: They plan to address the fit note process so that people are not signed off sick by default. This would involve introducing a triage process for employees who want a fit note and direct them down an appropriate pathway.

Update Trade Union Laws: They will bring back the stricter trade union laws that were removed in Wales.

Create more Apprenticeships: 100,000 more apprenticeships will be created in England each year by the end of next parliament.

National Service for 18-year-olds: By introducing a national service scheme for all 18-year-olds that would give them two options of either taking part in 25 days each year of military training or one weekend a month over a 12-month period volunteering in their community. HR departments would have to consider how young people might navigate this requirement alongside existing jobs and what may be expected of your business.



Labours manifesto places a strong emphasis on worker’s rights and increased legislation. There proposals include:

Banning of zero- hour contracts: They plan to prohibit zero-hour contracts and introduce the right to an average hour’s contract based on hours worked over a 12-week period. This change would require HR department to reassess current employment contracts and ensure compliance with new standards.

Parental leave, sick pay, and unfair dismissal protections from day one: HR policies would need to be updated to reflect these new employee rights.

Reasonable Notice of Work Schedules and the right to disconnect: They would like to bring in a requirement for reasonable notice of work schedules and a right to disconnect after work to prevent employers from contacting employees outside of working hours similar to laws in other countries. This may lead to HR teams implementing new scheduling systems and ensuring managers are trained on the updated requirements.

Close Pay Gaps: To take steps to close gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap. Making it mandatory for firms with 250 staff or more to publish an ethnicity pay gap report and a disability pay gap report.


 Liberal Democrats:

The Liberal Democrats party focus is on promoting diversity and inclusion with several key policies.

Addressing the gender pay gap: Their manifesto includes measures to help close the gender pay gap, requiring HR teams to implement pay equity analyses and reporting mechanisms.

You may be interested in our gender pay gap reporting guide.

Flexible working and enhanced parental leave: Support for flexible working arrangements and enhanced parental leave policies would require HR departments to develop more inclusive and supportive workplace policies.

Read more about the Motherhood Penalty

Zero-Hours Workers Right to fixed hours contracts: After 12 months, zero-hour workers would have the right to request a fixed hours contract.

New Employment Status: Establish a new ‘dependant contractor’ employment status which would be a hybrid between employed and self-employed. This would provide this type of worker with rights including minimum earnings, sick pay, and holiday entitlement.

Provide Neurodiversity and Accessibility Awareness: They would introduce measures to boost awareness and train employers on neurodiversity. They also would look to raise employer’s awareness of the Access to Work scheme.


Green Party:

4 Day Work Week: They will introduce a shorter working week. Phasing it in across different industries to ensure that it best works for employers and employees.

Repeal anti-union legislation: Instead introduce a positive Charter of Workers’ Rights, with the right to strike at its heart along with a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions.

 Employment Rights: Equal employment rights for all workers from their first day of employment, including those working in the ‘gig economy’ and on zero-hours contracts. Gig employers that repeatedly break employment, data protection or tax law will be denied licences to operate.


What you should know about: Wages and Taxes


The Conservatives manifesto emphasises low taxes to stimulate economic growth, with key proposals including:

Cutting National Insurance: The national insurance rate would be cut to 6% by April 2027.

VAT Threshold: The VAT threshold will be kept under review, which could potentially impact businesses tax liabilities.

National Living Wage:  By the end of the next parliament, they would raise the National Living Wage to around £13 per hour.



Labour’s wage policies focus on increasing minimum wage standards and removing age bands.

Universal Minimum Wage: Labour plans to eliminate age bands for the minimal wage, ensuring all adults earn at least £10 per hour. This change would require payroll systems to be updated to ensure compliance with the new minimum wage standards.

Ban Unpaid Internships: They propose the ban of unpaid internships that are not part of an education or training course.

Sick Pay: To make SSP available to everyone including workers who are not currently eligible at a rate that represents a ‘fair earning replacement.’

Your payroll department must remain agile and ready to implement these changes quickly and accurately.


Liberal Democrats:

The Liberal Democrats’ wage policies aim to support inclusivity and fair compensation.

Minimum Wage for Apprentices: Apprentices would be entitled to the minimum wage, necessitating adjustments in payroll systems for businesses employing apprentices.

Increased Statutory Maternity Pay: Doubling statutory maternity pay to £350 per week would require HR teams to update payroll calculations and ensure compliance with the enhanced benefit.

Update Statutory Sick Pay: They will remove the lower earning limit making more people eligible for SSP and align the sick pay rate with National Minimum Wage.


Green Party:

Increase Minimum Wage: To £15 an hour, no matter your age, with the costs to small businesses offset by reducing their National Insurance payments.

A Maximum 10:1 Pay Ratio: For all private- and public-sector organisations.


Preparing your HR department for the Future:

With the fast-approaching election day, HR teams must stay informed about the proposed changes in each party’s manifesto and be prepared to enact any changes that may occur after the election. 


Rising Tension in the Workplace: 

 “Politics is increasingly something that is not confined anymore to just the political arena” said Edoardo Teso, Professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at Northwestern University. This spill over into the workplace can cause diversion amongst employees, with diverse political opinions among staff, it is not uncommon for disagreements to arise, sometimes leading to strained relationships and a disrupted work environment. HR can play a critical role in managing and easing these tensions to maintain a harmonious and productive workplace.

In 2021 tech company 37Signals asked employees to refrain from political talk in company communication channels which led to one-third of employees to resign. Three years on CEO Jason Fried stands by this decision with the policy not just featured in the employee handbook but also on job listings. They found that a blanket ban led to less off topic workplace conversations and stopped internal debates from occurring in the workplace.

key strategies that you can use to help navigate a workplace during a general election effectively:

 Reinforcing Policies on discrimination and harassment: Post-election periods can sometimes heightened emotions, and unfortunately inappropriate behaviour. HR must reiterate the companies’ policies towards discrimination, harassment, and bullying. Providing clear communication on what constitutes as unacceptable behaviour, and the consequences thereof is essential. By ensuring that all employees are aware of these policies, HR can help prevent political discussions from crossing into personal attacks or discriminatory remarks.

Creating Neutral Spaces: Creating neutral, politic free zones within the workplace can be another effective strategy. Designating certain areas as places where political discussions are off-limits can provide a sanctuary for employees who prefer to avoid such conversations. This approach helps in reducing the frequency of politically charged interactions, allowing staff to focus on their professional roles without the distraction of political debates.

Offering Support and Resources: HR should also provide support for employees who may feel particularly stressed or anxious due to the political climate. This can include access to counselling services, stress management workshops, and mental health resources. By addressing the emotional well-being of employees, HR can mitigate the adverse effects of political tension and help staff maintain their overall productivity and morale.

Facilitate Team-Building Activities: To help strengthen workplace relationships, HR can organise team-building activities that focus on collaboration and unity. Activities that encourage employees to work together towards common goals can help bridge divides and remind staff of their shared purpose within the organisation. These initiatives can range from problem-solving exercises and workshops to social events that foster camaraderie.

Providing Training on Conflict Resolution:  By equipping employees with conflict resolution skills is another proactive measure HR can take. Offering training sessions on how to manage disagreements constructively, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts amicably can empower employees to handle political discussions maturely. These skills are invaluable not just for post-election periods but overall workplace harmony.

Promoting Open dialogue and Respect: Fostering an environment of open dialogue and mutual respect is one of the primary steps that HR should take, organising structured forums or a place where employees can share their views in a controlled and respectful manner can help ease tension. Its important to emphasise listening and understanding different perspectives to create a cohesive workplace, reduce animosity and build a culture of respect.


The aftermath of the UK’s general election can bring significant changes to workplace dynamics and policies moving forward. By fostering an environment of respect, inclusivity, and support, HR can help ensure that political differences do not hinder workplace harmony and productivity.  Alongside dealing with employee conflict HR departments must take care to understand the potential impact on employment laws, wages, and taxation will enable HR professionals to navigate the changes effectively and ensure compliance with new regulations. By staying proactive and adaptable, HR teams can support their organisation through any transitional period and continue fostering inclusive and compliant workplaces.