​Business Alarm at Labour's 'Full Fat' Workers' Rights Proposals

​Business Alarm at Labour's 'Full Fat' Workers' Rights Proposals

Posted by Emily on 17th Feb 2024

Businesses across the UK are expressing concerns over Labour's proposed comprehensive overhaul of employment laws, dubbed the "full fat" approach. Spearheaded by Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, this ambitious package aims to enact the most significant changes in workers' rights seen in decades. Key proposals include a "right to switch off" to avoid after-hours contact, enhanced rights for flexible working, eliminating zero-hours contracts, a crackdown on false self-employment, easier union strike procedures, and new entitlements to better sick pay and unfair dismissal claims.

Official portrait of Angela Rayner MP crop 1 David Woolfall, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While Labour is confident that these changes, set to be introduced within 100 days of taking office, will mark a transformative shift for the British economy, business leaders are wary. They caution that the added costs and complexities could hinder hiring and economic recovery, especially as recent data shows the UK economy contracting by 0.3% in the last quarter, signalling a recession.

Despite Labour's assurances that their workers' rights package will bolster the economy and productivity, many businesses are privately apprehensive about the potential for increased operational costs. Industry voices, including Alex Hall-Chen from the Institute of Directors and Jane Gratton from the British Chambers of Commerce, emphasise the need for a careful balance that doesn't compromise the competitiveness and flexibility of British firms.

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Labour maintains that its proposals will benefit workers and the economy, aiming to address in-work poverty and improve employment conditions. However, the business community urges a more cautious approach, highlighting the need for detailed consultation and gradual implementation to avoid adverse impacts on employment costs and business growth.

Labour is committed to engaging businesses to refine and implement its plan responsibly as the debate unfolds, promising a new deal for working people that supports employee welfare and economic development.

We invite your thoughts and comments below on how these proposed changes could affect the UK's businesses and workforce.

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