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Opportunity for everyone – the Lib Dems' manifesto

15/04/2015
Nick Clegg has promised to "add a heart to a Conservative Government and a brain to a Labour one". So what does that mean for employers and those of us dealing with HR issues? A summary of the Lib Nick Clegg has promised to "add a heart to a Conservative Government and a brain to a Labour one". So what does that mean for employers and those of us dealing with HR issues? A summary of the Lib Dem's proposals in this regard is set out below.

Europe and immigration

  • Work to reform the EU but remain within it

  • Hold an In/Out referendum when there is next any Treaty change involving a material transfer of sovereignty from the UK to the EU

  • Continue to allow high skilled immigration

  • Re-instate post study work visas for students studying science, technology, engineering and maths


Family friendly

  • Extend free childcare to all two year olds, and to the children of working families from the end of paid parental leave

  • Expand Shared Parental Leave with a ‘use it or lose it’ month for fathers, and introduce a right to paid leave for carers

  • Commit to a goal of 20 hours’ free childcare a week for all parents with children aged from two to four-years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave (nine months) to two years

  • Start by providing 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year olds. Will then prioritise 15 hours free childcare for all working parents with children aged between nine months and two years

  • Provide up to £2,000 of childcare support for each child and include childcare support in Universal Credit, refunding 85% of childcare costs so work pays for low earners


Flexibility at work and fair pay

  • Ensure employers cannot avoid giving their staff rights or paying the minimum wage by wrongly classifying them as workers or self-employed

  • Continue to stamp out abuse of zero hours contracts and create a formal right to request a fixed contract

  • Consult on introducing a right for those on zero hours contracts to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time

  • Simplify and streamline back-to-work support for people with disabilities, mental or physical health problems

  • Raise awareness of, and seek to expand, Access to Work, which supports people with disabilities in work

  • Swift implementation of the new rules requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish details of the different pay levels of men and women in their organisation

  • By 2020 extend transparency requirements to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay

  • Consult on requirements for companies to conduct and publish a full equality pay review, and to consult staff on executive pay

  • Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the National Minimum Wage

  • Improve enforcement action and clamp down on abuses by employers seeking to avoid paying the minimum wage by reviewing practices such as unpaid internships

  • Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a fair Living Wage across all sectors

  • Monitor and tackle the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pay gap


Equality

  • Set an ambitious goal to see a million more women in work by 2020 thanks to more jobs, better childcare, and better back-to work support

  • Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership, maintaining momentum towards at least 30% of board members being women and encouraging gender diversity among senior managers, too

  • Identify ways to encourage more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants to apply for finance and set up small business

  • Encourage businesses to ensure at least one place on their board is filled by a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidate

  • Outlaw caste discrimination

  • Help greater numbers of disabled people work by encouraging employers to shortlist any qualified disabled candidate and providing advice about workplace adaptation

  • Formally recognise British Sign Language as an official language of the United Kingdom

  • Maintain the Public Sector Equality Duty and encourage external providers to the public sector to follow best practice in terms of diversity

  • Prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion in the provision of public services

  • Move to ‘name blank’ recruitment wherever possible in the public sector

  • Replicate the civil service accelerated programme for underrepresented groups across the public sector

  • Require diversity in Public Appointments. Introduce a presumption that every shortlist should include a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidate. Establish an independent committee that will monitor the drive for greater diversity in public appointments and verify the independence of the appointment process to public bodies, boards and institutions.


Employee ownership and workplace representation

  • Encourage employers to promote employee participation and employee ownership, aiming to increase further the proportion of GDP in employee-owned businesses

  • Will change company law to permit a German-style two-tier board structure to include employees

  • Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees, and the right for employees who collectively own 5% of a company to be represented on the board

  • Spread mutual structures and employee participation through the public sector


Trade unions and strike action

  • Protect the rights of trade union members to have their subscriptions, including political levies, deducted from their salary, and strengthen members’ political freedoms by letting them choose which political party they wish to support through such automatic payments

  • Encourage wider participation in trade union ballots through electronic voting

  • Introduce mandatory arbitration for strikes likely to cause widespread public disruption, enabling us to defend workers’ rights to strike while ensuring continued service in essential public services


Tax and Pensions

  • Raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500

  • Consider raising the national insurance threshold to the income tax threshold

  • Legislate to make the public sector triple lock on pensions permanent

  • Improve workplace pensions and continue to auto-enrol workers, completing the rollout of this scheme in full and on time

  • Crack down on charges and encourage people to save more into their pension pot through this scheme

  • Establish a review to consider the case for, and practical implications of, introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to be simpler and fairer and which would be set more generously than the current 20% basic rate relief


Apprenticeships and job creation

  • Increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality, extending the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers for the remainder of the next Parliament, delivering 200,000 grants to employers and expanding the number of degree-equivalent Higher Apprenticeships

  • Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by extending them to new sectors of our economy, like creative and digital industries

  • Promote more green and technology start up jobs

  • Promote growth in the creative industries

  • Make sure it pays to work by rolling out Universal Credit, and invest in back-to-work and healthcare support for those who need it


Employment Tribunal fees

  • Review the Employment Tribunal fees system to ensure they are not a barrier to justice


Carers

  • Introduce an annual Carer’s Bonus of £250 for carers looking after someone for 35 hours or more each week

  • Work to raise the amount you can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week

  • Consult on introducing five days’ paid additional ‘care leave’ a year for carers who qualify for the Carer’s Allowance

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