What does the election result mean for employment?

Posted on 09 June 2017 by Åsa Waring

What does the election result mean for employment?

With a surprise hung parliament the outcome of yesterday's general election, uncertainty reigns and the future of the Brexit negotiations is likely to be an immediate concern for many. The "greatest extension of rights and protections for employees by any Conservative government" promised in the Conservative manifesto, and which we reported here, is unlikely to be at the top of the list of priorities for a new Conservative minority government. However, many of the proposals on worker's rights have not been contested and so, unlike in other areas of the manifesto, there may be at least some cross party support if the new government pushes ahead with them.

One matter in particular that we are following with great interest is the independent review by Matthew Taylor into the gig economy and the changing labour market. The Conservative manifesto promised that a new government would act to ensure that the interests of traditional employees, the self-employed and those working in the gig economy are all properly protected. The findings of the Taylor Review will no doubt shape these proposals. The final report is expected shortly and we will analyse the findings and what they may mean for the future of employment once it has been published.

An even bigger question mark now hangs over Brexit. A large body of employment law derives from EU law and while the Conservative manifesto only goes as far as guaranteeing EU derived employment rights at the point of Brexit, a "Hard Brexit" has become considerably less likely in view of the election result. Whether the protection of employment rights will now go further remains to be seen.

In the meantime, on 19 June, the Queen will read out the legislative programme of the new government. Only those plans expected to secure the support of a majority of MPs are likely to make it through - now a much harder task. We will be watching out for anything in the programme affecting employers, their workers and the future of employment law.