Manifesto Policy Explainer Employment policy

The previous government implemented significant changes to employment law in recent years, and several parties are pledging to go further.

What are the implications for employment policy?


  • Implement its New Deal for Working People, including policies such as ensuring that the minimum wage accounts for the cost of living, banning ‘exploitative’ zero hours contracts, expanding day one employment rights, and making more employees eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.
  • Reduce net migration, with measures including banning employers who abuse the visa system from hiring workers from abroad, reforming the current points-based immigration system, and upskilling British workers in sectors where immigration is currently used to address skills shortages.
  • Implement the previous government’s free childcare plan and open an additional 3,000 nurseries.


  • Introduce an annual cap on visas, giving Parliament an annual vote on the numbers recommended by Government migration advisers.
  • Support the expansion of free childcare through an additional investment of £300m so that all parents can access ‘wraparound’ childcare by September 2026.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig economy’, including increasing the minimum wage for people on zero hour contracts at times of normal demand and aligning the rate of Statutory Sick Pay with the National Minimum Wage.
  • Replace the current Skilled Worker visa salary threshold with a more flexible merit-based system.
  • Implement and expand free childcare provision.

Reform UK:

  • Scrap laws that hold back British business and damage productivity, including employment laws.
  • Freeze ‘non-essential’ immigration, with essential skills – mainly in healthcare – as the only exception. Raise the National Insurance rate for foreign workers to 20%, with exemptions for essential foreign health and care workers and for microbusinesses.

Green Party:

  • Repeal current anti-union legislation, implement a maximum 10:1 pay ratio for all private and public sector organisations, increase the minimum wage to £15 an hour, reduce employer National Insurance contributions, give employment rights from day one of employment including for gig workers, and move to a four-day working week.
  • End the ‘hostile environment’ approach to migration policy.

You can read the IoD’s Manifesto for Business here.

About the author

image of Alex Hall-Chen

Alex Hall-Chen

Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Employment, and Skills at the IoD

Alex Hall-Chen is Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Employment, and Skills at the IoD. She previously worked in education research and as a Policy Advisor at the CBI. She holds a BA in Politics and Sociology from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford, and is a school governor for the Thinking Schools Academy Trust.

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