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General Election and Employment: The Liberal Democrats’ Employment and Business Manifesto

The publication of political manifestos has begun, and the first party to do so are the Liberal Democrats.  So, what do we know about the Liberal Democrats commitment to business and employment under a Liberal Democrats Government?  Here are the key pledges:

Skills Investment

The Liberal Democrats’ employment and business manifesto 2024 includes significant commitments to skills investment:

  • Replace the apprenticeship levy with a more flexible skills and training levy.
  • Guarantee apprenticeships pay at least the National Minimum Wage.
  • Introduce Lifelong Skills Grants and develop National Colleges for key sectors.

Employment Rights and Gig Economy

A crucial aspect of the Liberal Democrats’ employment and business manifesto 2024 is improving employment rights and addressing the gig economy:

  • Making caring a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010
  • Create a new carer’s minimum wage
  • Establish a ‘dependent contractor’ status with basic rights.
  • Review tax and National Insurance for fair treatment of all workers.
  • Set a 20% higher minimum wage for zero-hour contract workers.
  • Allow zero-hour and agency workers to request fixed-hours contracts after 12 months.
  • Improve pension portability and shift employment status proof to employers in tribunals.
  • Introduce specialist disability employment support.
  • Introduce ‘adjustment passports’ to record the adjustments, modifications and equipment that an employee who has a disability, has received and to allow any equipment issued via Access to Support stays with the employee if they change jobs.
  • Require large employers to publish ethnicity, disability, gender and LGBT+ data on employment levels, pay gaps and progression, along with five-year aspirational diversity targets.

Parental Leave and Sick Pay

The Liberal Democrats’ employment and business manifesto 2024 aims to enhance parental leave and sick pay provisions:

  • Expand parental leave and pay, making them day-one rights.
  • Change the Statutory Sick Pay system to cover low earners and align with the National Minimum Wage, starting from the first day of illness.
  • Support small employers with Statutory Sick Pay costs.

Worker Protection

The Liberal Democrats’ employment and business manifesto 2024 includes measures to protect workers:

  • Establish a Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to unify responsibilities for minimum wage enforcement, modern slavery, and agency worker protection.
  • Conduct an independent review to recommend a genuine living wage across all sectors, starting with public sector employers.
  • Simplify the Access to Work Scheme.
  • Extend the use of name-blind recruitment (currently in place across the Civil Service).  This removes the candidates name and other personal information so that nothing from the recruitment process can put barriers up that prevent the best talent from being recruited.

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