With the results of the General Election looming over us like a grey cloud, it’s about time we talked about how the election outcome could affect us 9-5’ers and those looking for work. There definitely isn’t a clear answer because let’s be honest, party manifestos rarely live up to their promise, but this might give you a rough idea of what to expect from the victorious party.
So, the big question when it comes to how you’ll be affected at work invariably comes down to the dreaded income tax. I’d love to be able to tell you that there was a policy to eradicate tax for us hardworking folk but alas, no. As difficult as it is, staring at those little numbers in the deductions box on your payslip, tax is a necessity and we’d struggle to fund our public services (amongst other things) without it. However, there are potential policies floating around that could relieve some of us a little such as Labours’ idea of implementing more tax bands such as a 10% band and a 50% band. This could mean workers at the lower end of the pay spectrum could see some relief whilst those earning over £80,000 could be hit a little harder; an attempt at bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Conservatives’ ideas are little less forthcoming with a nudge toward a simple free pay threshold increase which would mean you start paying tax after earning £12,500 as opposed to the current £11500.
A chunk of this year’s policies seem to be geared toward working parents with Tories proposing flexible working environments for working parents plus 30 hours of free childcare per week for 3 and 4 year olds. Labour have a similar, albeit slightly watered down version of the policy, promising the same 30 hours of free childcare but only for those with two year olds. Lib Dems stance has been a little wishy washy but it has been suggested that 15 hours a week free childcare will be extended to all two-year-olds and to the children of working families from the end of paid parental leave. Labour have also suggested an extension to maternity leave, bringing it up to 12 months and bringing in risk assessments in the workplace for pregnant women.
So what about the strong independent females? How could we be affected? Well there are some pretty exciting movements when it comes to Lib Dem policies. They have to “make Britain fair for women” as despite it being almost 100 years since women got the vote AND 45 years since the Equal pay Act was introduced, we still aren’t treated fairly in the workplace with there being a whopping 13.9% pay gap between men and women. Specifically, they have said they will name and shame all pay gap companies and want to give women more power in the business world by putting more women on company boards. Labour on the other hand have brought the idea a little closer to home, proposing a “Government for Women”, meaning the Labour cabinet will be comprised of 50% women. Tories have put their 2p in on this subject too, suggesting they will decrease the gender pay gap but have yet to elaborate on this. How exciting!
Moving swiftly on to jobs themselves… If you are a railway commuter, you could benefit as Labour plan to bring private rail companies back into public ownership as their franchises expire which could slash rail fares significantly.
Three of the most predominant parties all have a view to scrapping or altering ‘Zero hours’ contracts with Lib Dems and the controversial UKIP proposing blanket ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts (i.e. a worker on a zero hours contract must not be banned from working for alternative employers.) Meanwhile Labour, in a bold move, want to ban zero hours contracts completely. This has its pros and cons as whilst it could be good news for those wanting a more stable contract, those who enjoy the flexibility of being able to work whenever they like could be left in the cold.
In an interesting move, Conservatives have suggested what they are calling ‘Returnships’ – a professional internship designed specifically for people returning after an extended career break e.g. having kids. They already exist however the Theresa May seems to be peddling it as a Tory idea and aiming it exclusively at women. This could seem a little patronising as returnships are available to men and women and whilst it’s useful to gain a little recent experience to put on the CV, many women will already be highly skilled and won’t need it.
In summary, I think there are definitely positives and negatives with all parties (some more positive than others, not naming names!) and whatever happens today, we’ll learn to live with the result but I hope this has given you a little insight and helps to avoid any nasty surprises.