Three ways HR could change under the new Prime Minister

Kate Palmer - HR Advice and Consultancy Director

September 05 2022

Liz Truss is now the Prime Minister of the UK.

And like any new leader, she will no doubt cement her premiership with a raft of new policies. Which could affect the way you manage your staff…

Currently, there are lots of rumours about potential changes ahead. And while it may take time for these to become law, here’s a first glance at how your HR could change under the new Prime Minister:

1. Less trade union power

Under Liz Truss, employers may face less strike disruption.

That’s because, within 30 days of leadership, she hopes to introduce minimum strike staffing levels. This would make strikes illegal unless a certain amount of staff remained at work. The threshold would vary depending on which industry you work in.

Truss also hopes to introduce a new law that raises the ballot threshold for industrial action.

Currently, 40% of union members need to agree on strike action for it to happen. But under proposed new rules, this could rise to 50% – meaning strikes may be more unlikely.

Under Truss, the government may also introduce a ‘cooling off’ period. This would prevent workers from taking industrial action within six months after a strike. Again, this would potentially reduce the level of trade union power.

Plus, Truss wants to remove leave entitlement for workers carrying out union activities. Tax-free payments from unions may also be axed.

2. A National Insurance reduction

To combat the cost of living crisis, Liz Truss has outlined plans to reverse the National Insurance hike.

So, what would this mean for you?

Before now, you may have chosen to list this increase separately on staff payslips. If you did, and this change goes ahead, you will no longer need to do this.

It’s important to review your payroll when any tax changes come into force. If you make incorrect deductions, you’ll need to report it to the HMRC as soon as possible.

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3. Potential changes to working time rules

Reports suggest that Truss is considering a radical overhaul of worker rights – including the 48-hour working week.

This is to “make the UK more competitive” but could see immediate challenges from unions.

As it stands, staff can’t legally work more than an average of 48 hours each week. Workers can sign an agreement to opt out of this law if they want to work more. Truss may be reviewing this law, along with other key workers’ rights.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that these rumours are unconfirmed. These changes would likely face pushback, so it’s not a given they’ll come into effect.

If employment law changes do come into force, you may need to adjust your policies, speak to your staff, and update their contracts.

Bringing you certainty when it matters most…

Soaring bills, strike action, and potential new HR challenges… it’s understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

That’s why Peninsula provides unlimited advice on all things employment. So, whenever a new law threatens to hit your HR, you’ll know exactly what do to.

You’ll receive expert guidance to stay compliant, from your paperwork to your policies. And since we personalise our advice around your business, you’ll always find the easiest and most cost-effective way to move forwards.

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