Before Labour won the general election in July 2024, they pledged to make a number of employment law changes in their manifesto Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay. Before their win, Labour announced their intention to introduce quite a bit of new legislation to Parliament within their first 100 days in government.

This article discusses some of the most noteworthy employment law changes that Labour currently plans to make to Employment Law.

Unfair dismissal to become a day-one right

This is perhaps the biggest employment law change we’ll see in generations. Currently, staff must have been in their job for two years before they can bring unfair dismissal claims. Labour wants to make this right (along with sick pay and parental leave) available to staff from day one, just like discrimination claims.

This is going to lead to a lot of new claims.

Removing the distinction between workers and employees

As it stands in England and Wales, there is a clear (actually, not very clear at all) distinction in legal status between workers, employees and the self-employed. Employees hold most rights, including entitlement to statutory sick pay, redundancy pay and a statutory notice period. Workers have a much more limited selection; this includes the right not to be discriminated against, the right to rest breaks, and the right to a national minimum wage.

One of Labour’s plans is to remove the distinction between workers and employees. They propose to simplify the three-tiered framework of employment status, with the only distinction being between the self-employed and everyone else; under this amendment, all workers will enjoy the rights which employees currently have.

So, what will the impact of this employment law change be? For current workers, this change will be overwhelmingly positive. They will have greater job security, as they will be able to bring unfair dismissal claims. Employers must take special care; as the number of staff with rights increases, the likelihood of tribunal claims will also increase. We’ll see more congestion within the tribunal system, and so greater waiting times for hearings.

Abolishing zero-hour contracts

Labour have deemed zero-hour contracts to be ‘exploitative’ and ‘one-sided’; so they have pledged to grant all workers the right to have a contract of employment that reflects the number of hours they regularly work, ultimately putting a ban on zero-hour contracts. This ban will protect those who wish to be working regularly, by removing the issue of having no set hours.

Some have criticised this decision, arguing that zero-hour contracts promote flexibility whilst remaining low-commitment – for both employer and employee. For example, zero-hour contracts remain a popular choice amongst students, as it lets them fit their job around their study needs.

Extending time limits from three to six months

Labour have also outlined their intention to give claimants longer to bring a claim. At the moment a potential claimant has three months less one day from the point of the incident to bring a claim against their employer. Actually, it’s a little more complex than this because of extensions granted by the early conciliation procedure). In 2020 The Law Commission called this time-limit inadequate, arguing that it should be extended to promote fairness. Labour responded to these criticisms by promising to extend the timescale for all claims at an Employment tribunal to six months.

Once again, this change is likely to result in more claims.

National Minimum Wage to increase?

Labour’s manifesto says “we will write to the Low Pay Commission to change its remit requiring it to take account of the cost of living”. This is an organisation set up to advise the Government independently on what the NMW should be. Labour has evidently decided not to step on its toes by simply setting a higher NMW. But we can expect it to perhaps rise more than in previous years, with the Government having set a clear signal in this way.

Changes to terms and conditions

Until now, employers have had a quite wide discretion to change employees’ pay and conditions  as long as it does so in the right way Labour has described this as a ‘scourge’ that effectively blackmails employees. We await to see how they will protect pay and conditions. Currently, employers have a defence of ‘some other substantial reason’ when sacking staff who do not accept contractual changes. Perhaps we will see a greater reliance on redundancy as a result.


As Labour have won the most recent general election, we can expect several monumental employment law changes to be made to the current Employment laws in England and Wales. With this said, Labour are still under no obligation to implement them. For now, we watch eagerly to see which, if any, employment law changes the new Government actually puts into action and when.