Employment law and family issues formed key election promises in each of the
main Party manifestos. As Tony Blair and the Labour Party have secured a third
term in Government, what changes can we expect in the coming months and years?
The most significant changes can be summarised as follows:
Labour intends to extend paid maternity leave from six to nine months. This
is scheduled to come into effect from 7 April 2007 and would involve the right
to transfer a proportion of their maternity leave and pay to fathers. This
translates into an extra £1,400 for working mothers and introduces the
element of choice for parents in meeting their childcare responsibilities.
The Labour Party have also voiced their intention to extend this to a twelve
month period of paid maternity leave by 2010.
Action has been promised by the Labour Party to address the gender pay and
promotion gap. They also promise to tackle discrimination on the grounds of
race and ethnicity in the workplace.
Age Discrimination Regulations are to be introduced in October 2006, which
will outlaw age discrimination in all stages of employment, including recruitment.
Employers will not be able to force employees under the age of 65 into retirement
without objective justification and employees who reach the age of 65 will
be given the right to request to carry on working.
In addition to the existing right to four weeks’ paid holiday under
the Working Time Regulations 1998, Labour will introduce paid time off for
workers on bank holidays.