UK General Election Manifesto: Summary for Employers

uk general election manifesto for employers


Ahead of the UK General Election on 4 July 2024, the following summary for employers sets out the manifesto pledges of the main parties in relation to employment and immigration law.


Labour Party



The Labour Party’s employment plans are detailed in Labour’s “Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People.” The plans include providing basic employment rights from day one to parental leave, sick pay, and protection from unfair dismissal, as well as creating a Single Enforcement Body responsible for upholding employment rights. Labour also aims to strengthen rights around workplace whistleblowing and sexual harassment.

Key features of the plan also include banning exploitative zero-hours contracts and ending the practice of fire and rehire, and removing age bands on the National Minimum Wage to ensure it is a genuine living wage and tackling the Access to Work backlog to improve employment support and reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Labour intends to introduce a Race Equality Act and mandate ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers, take further action to reduce the gender pay gap, and strengthen equal pay rights and protections from maternity and menopause discrimination and sexual harassment.

Labour also plans to enact the socio-economic duty within the Equality Act 2010, introduce full equal pay rights for disabled people, and require disability pay gap reporting for large employers.

Other significant proposals include plans to recruit 6,500 teachers in key subjects and change the remit of the independent Low Pay Commission to account for the cost of living. The party also promises to avoid any increase in National Insurance and income tax and aims to establish a Fair Pay Agreement in adult social care, which will set fair pay, terms, conditions, and training standards.

The Labour manifesto commits to introducing legislation within the first 100 days to bring these measures into force, although the party has promised to consult with businesses, workers, and civil society before any legislation is passed. So while draft legislation may be introduced within the first 100 days, it will likely take longer than 100 days for these measures to become law.




The Labour Party’s manifesto criticises the UK’s over-reliance on foreign workers to fill skill shortages under the Conservatives, while acknowledging the positive impact migrant workers can have on the economy, public services, and communities.

Labour’s primary goal is to reduce net migration by reforming the points-based immigration system to ensure it is fair and well-managed, with appropriate visa restrictions. They also pledge to prevent employers and recruitment agencies from abusing the visa system or breaking employment laws.

Labour is advocating for an immigration strategy that includes upskilling UK workers to fill skill gaps, and increasing training plans for sectors like health, social care, and construction. They propose strengthening the Migration Advisory Committee and establishing a framework for collaboration with skill bodies in the UK, the Industrial Strategy Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Labour strongly rejects the Conservative’s Rwanda plan and instead suggests reallocating these funds to combat criminal gangs driving the illegal immigration. Labour also promises to collaborate with international partners to address the humanitarian crises that cause people to seek asylum , and to negotiate more return agreements and increase the number of safe countries, with the aim of speeding up the process.

Other proposals include plans to secure a new security deal with the EU for real-time intelligence sharing, to hire additional caseworkers to address the asylum backlog, and to establish a returns and enforcement unit with 1,000 staff to expedite the removal of those without the right to remain in the UK.


Conservative Party



The Conservative manifesto is based on tackling employment-related policies as necessary, as has been the government’s approach to date.

One significant proposal is amending the Equality Act 2010 to define sex as biological sex, a move which is likely to generate considerable debate about its implications for gender rights and definitions. Another significant reform is the overhaul of the fit-note system, moving away from GP-issued fit notes to presumably a more streamlined or effective method of verifying fitness for work.

The Conservatives also plan to maintain the National Living Wage at two-thirds of median earnings during their next term to ensure that wages keep pace with the overall economic conditions, and providing a baseline standard of living for workers.

In terms of tax policy, the party intends to reduce employee National Insurance contributions by 2p, with a long-term plan to abolish it altogether. For the self-employed, the Conservatives propose cutting taxes by abolishing the main rate of self-employed National Insurance by the end of the Parliament.

The party also plans to continue implementing Minimum Service Level legislation for public services, ensuring that essential services are maintained during strikes or other disruptions.




The Conservatives state their aim is to attract only the most skilled migrants and brightest international students who can contribute to the economy, while acknowledging that current immigration levels are too high. They firmly reject any return to free movement.

Instead, the party is proposing a legal cap on migration to protect public services in 2024, which will decrease annually until the next Parliament and will be subject to an annual parliamentary vote.

They have also pledged to continue the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the EU Settled Status Scheme for EU citizens who settled in the UK pre-Brexit.

The manifesto takes a strong stance on illegal migration, aiming to stop illegal boat crossings and plan to deter illegal immigration by ensuring that those who enter illegally cannot stay.

To prevent illegal immigration, the party outlines a number of strategies. First, they propose establishing a deterrent by continuously removing illegal migrants to Rwanda and prioritising national security over foreign courts, including the European Court of Human Rights. They also intend to enforce the Illegal Migration Act to prevent illegal migrants from blocking their removal. They will also focus on organised immigration crime by utilising the National Crime Agency and Intelligence Services to tackle people smugglers. They also plan to hold an international summit to collaborate with other countries on reforming international laws, with visa limits imposed on uncooperative countries. They will also return individuals without the right to remain in the UK to their home countries, using deals like the Albanian agreement.


The Liberal Democrat Party



The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, “For a Fair Deal”, includes several key proposals aimed at improving workers’ rights and conditions.

One significant proposal is creating a new ‘dependent contractor’ status, which offers basic rights such as minimum earnings, sick pay, and holiday entitlement. They also plan to set a 20% higher minimum wage for zero-hour contract workers during normal demand times to compensate for fluctuating hours.

The manifesto includes provisions for zero-hours and agency workers to request fixed-hours contracts after 12 months, which cannot be unreasonably refused. Additionally, the Liberal Democrats propose reviewing the tax and National Insurance status of employees and the Government’s IR35 reforms to ensure fair treatment for self-employed individuals, dependent contractors and freelancers.

Parental leave and pay rights will also see significant changes, with day-one rights for all and an extension of these rights to self-employed parents. Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay will be doubled to £350 a week, and paternity leave pay will increase to 90% of earnings, with a cap for high earners. An extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings with a cap for high earners, is also proposed.

Large employers will be required to publish their parental leave and pay policies, as well as monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps, and progression. They will also need to set five-year diversity targets.

The manifesto introduces caring and care experience as protected characteristics, along with paid carer’s leave and a Carer’s Minimum Wage. A Worker Protection Enforcement Authority will be created to enforce the minimum wage, tackle modern slavery, and protect agency workers.

Statutory sick pay will be made available to those earning less than £123 a week, aligned with the National Minimum Wage, and available from the first day of absence.

The Liberal Democrats also propose establishing a new right to flexible working and allowing every disabled person the right to work from home unless there are significant business reasons against it.

Employees in listed companies with more than 250 employees will have the right to request shares, and paid neonatal care leave will be introduced. Finally, the manifesto proposes shifting the burden of proof in employment tribunal proceedings on employment status from the individual to the employer.




The Liberal Democrats propose ending the hostile environment and investing in officers, training, and technology to combat smuggling, trafficking, and modern slavery. Their plans involve removing the responsibility for policymaking on work and student visas from the Home Office and scrapping the Rwanda scheme in favour of creating safe and legal routes. They will establish a dedicated unit to expedite and improve asylum decision-making, with a goal of processing most cases within three months. Additionally, asylum seekers who have been waiting for over three months will be allowed to work, enabling them to support themselves and integrate into the community.

In terms of work visas, the Liberal Democrats plan to create a flexible merit-based system, working with employers to address long-term workforce needs and develop strategies for training and educating the UK workforce. They propose exempting NHS and care staff from the Immigration Skills Charge and reversing the ban on dependants of care workers coming to the UK. They also aim to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme – negotiating with the EU to raise the age limit to 35, abolish visa fees and extend the visa length to three years.

The manifesto also includes measures to reduce costs and simplify visa and citizenship application processes, as well as providing clearer, safer, and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees, such as expanding and funding the UK Resettlement Scheme, creating new humanitarian travel permits for asylum seekers, and setting up a scheme to resettle unaccompanied child refugees from Europe.


The Green Party



The Green Party proposes several significant reforms to improve workers’ rights and conditions. One of their key initiatives is mandating legal recognition of trade unions for all employers and repealing anti-union legislation to be replaced with a Charter of Workers’ Rights to strengthen the role of unions in representing and protecting workers.

Another major proposal is introducing a 10:1 pay ratio for all private and public-sector organisations to limit the pay gap between the highest and lowest earners within an organisation.

The Green Party also plans to raise the National Minimum Wage to £15 across all age groups and plans to implement a four-day working week.

To provide equal treatment for all employees, the party proposes granting identical employment rights from the first day of employment.

For carers, the Green Party suggests increasing pay and creating a new career structure, providing better compensation and professional development opportunities.

Finally, the Green Party proposes removing the upper earnings limit for National Insurance contributions. This measure aims to make the tax system more progressive and ensure that higher earners contribute a fair share to social welfare programmes.




The Green Party’s manifesto adopts a positive and inclusive stance on immigration. The Green Party proposes establishing a new Department of Migration, distinct from the criminal justice system. They plan to charge only application fees for visa submissions and ensure free NHS access for all migrants with visas. Additionally, the party supports allowing international students to bring family members or dependents and removing minimum income requirements for applications such as spousal visas.

The Greens also highlight the impact of climate change, often compelling people to migrate. They aim to increase the overseas aid budget and assist lower-income countries in tackling the climate crisis, enabling people to stay in their home countries. For those who are forced to leave their homes, the Green Party pledges to ensure they can do so without fear or intimidation.

The Green Party advocates creating safe pathways for asylum seekers escaping persecution, war, or climate disasters, in collaboration with other countries. They propose an overhaul of the asylum application process, to make it quicker and fairer. The party aims to eliminate the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition, will allow asylum seekers to work while their cases are being reviewed. They also assert that migration should never be criminalised and are calling for an end to the detention of migrants unless there is a public safety concern.


Reform UK



Reform UK’s manifesto proposes significant immigration reform within the first 100 days. Their four-point plan to halt the arrival of small boats carrying migrants includes leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, banning the resettlement of illegal immigrants in the UK, establishing a New Department of Immigration, and returning illegal migrants to France.

Asylum seekers arriving illegally from safe countries will be processed swiftly, possibly offshore, and will be ineligible for asylum or citizenship.

There will be no legal aid for non-UK citizens, and rejected individuals will be sent back to their home countries. Criminal foreign nationals will be deported post-sentence, and immigrants committing crimes may lose citizenship, except for minor offences.

Reform UK also plans stricter visa regulations for international students, a five-year residency requirement for accessing benefits, and a higher National Insurance rate for foreign workers to encourage hiring British workers.




Reform UK’s employment law manifesto includes several significant proposals aimed at overhauling current regulations. One of their key initiatives is to repeal the Equality Act 2010 and abolish all diversity, equity, and inclusion roles. This change reflects their belief in reducing what they see as regulatory burdens related to equality and inclusion.

Additionally, Reform UK plans to eliminate the IR35 rules, which they argue will support sole traders by simplifying tax regulations and reducing compliance costs. They also propose repealing employment laws that they believe make it riskier to hire people. This initiative aims to encourage businesses to employ more workers by reducing perceived legal risks.

Another major proposal is to raise the Income Tax Start Point to £20,000 per year. This measure is intended to reduce the tax burden on low-income earners, allowing them to retain more of their earnings.

Reform UK also plans to offer tax relief for businesses undertaking apprenticeships. This incentive aims to promote vocational training and skill development, encouraging businesses to invest in the workforce of the future.

In terms of human rights legislation, Reform UK proposes leaving the European Convention on Human Rights and introducing a British Bill of Rights. This change is intended to establish a legal framework tailored specifically to the UK, replacing existing international human rights obligations with a domestic alternative.


Need Assistance?


If you are concerned about the impact of changes in UK immigration and employment laws on your organisation, speak to our experts.



Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

Contact DavidsonMorris
Get in touch with DavidsonMorris for general enquiries, feedback and requests for information.
Sign up to our award winning newsletters!
Find us on: