The World of Work by Harry Sherrard

What to expect in 2024

October and November are busy months for us at Sherrards as we prepare for our annual Employment Law Latest seminars. Particularly so this year, given the imminence of a General Election, with many radical employment law changes being proposed by Labour, should they form a Government in 2024.

The current Conservative Government’s proposed flagship Employment Bill, first floated in 2019, did not come to fruition for reasons we are all too aware of. Instead, and rather unusually, now that Covid is behind us, the Government has adopted the practice of backing Private Members’ bills on many of the subjects it had intended to include in the Employment Bill. Usually Private Members Bills quickly wither, but several recent Private Bills proposing changes to employment law have already, or will shortly, become the basis for new laws in 2024. There will be significant shakeups of the law relating to family leave, flexible working and extending protection from redundancy for women who have taken maternity leave. We will cover all of these changes at our forthcoming seminars.

Returning to Labour’s proposals, regular readers of our blog will recall that in my September blog I was somewhat alarmed by the Labour proposal to grant full employment rights from day one, a proposed policy enthusiastically backed by the Trade Union movement. My concern was that if unfair dismissal rights are given from day one, this effectively would abolish probationary periods, with employers liable for full unfair dismissal claims from the first day of employment. Following feedback to the Labour Party about this issue, they have now clarified that its previously announced plans to introduce individual rights from day one for all workers “will not prevent probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes.” Employers will read those words with a sigh of relief, but tinged with some concern as to whether new regulations will apply to the management of probationary periods.

Over the past few decades, when Labour has been in power, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal is one year, and when the Conservatives form a Government the qualifying period is two years, as it currently is. All the signs are that in 2024 Labour will depart from its traditional one-year approach and significantly reduce the qualifying period for unfair dismissal. Could this be six months – or even less? We will know more when the manifestoes are published next year.

We will be exploring this further at our upcoming Employment Law Latest seminars. Please note that although we recently announced that the session on Thursday 16th November at South Lodge in Sussex was sold out we now have increased capacity at the venue so if you are interested in attending please let us know. Limited availability also remains for the seminars taking place at The RAC, London on Monday 20th November and at Camberley Heath Golf Club, Camberley on Thursday 30th November. For further information or to book a place please send an email to

If you would like further information on any of the topics detailed in this blog please email or call the office on 01273 834120 to talk to a member of our team.

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