General Election 2015: What does a Conservative majority mean for workplace benefits?
It was a General Election night that no one could of predicted which resulted in the Conservatives winning enough seats for David Cameron to form a small majority government.
So what will this new government mean for employers and employees over the coming months and years?
Below are some of the key workplace benefits related points from the Conservative manifesto.
· They will establish the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) on a permanent basis and expand its role and capacity
The OTS has investigated several benefits related matters and conducted a major review of employee benefits and expenses which could be completed under a full brief.
· They will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees
The manifesto pledged that the Conservatives wanted to see full, genuine gender equality and that although the gender pay gap was the lowest on record, they wanted to reduce it further and would push business to do so.
· They strongly support the National Minimum Wage and want to see further real-terms increases in the next Parliament. We also support the Living Wage and will continue to encourage businesses and other organisations to pay it whenever they can afford it.
However, the Conservatives stopped short of going all the way to pledging an £8 minimum wage by 2020. The party also vowed to take further steps to eradicate abuses of workers, such as non-payment of the Minimum Wage, exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts and exploitation of migrant workers
· Because working families with children under school age face particularly high childcare costs, in the next parliament we will give families where all parents are working an entitlement to 30 hours of free childcare for their three and four year-olds.
The manifesto said this was in addition to the already legislated introduction of Tax-Free Childcare.
· They will protect businesses from disruptive and undemocratic strike action
Trade unions will face far stiffer rules upon which they can call strike action, which will be tightened further for workers in health, education, fire and transport sectors. Half the workforce must vote for any ballot to be valid and at least 40% of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots - as well as a majority of those who actually turn out to vote would be needed in the protected sectors.
Return to work rehabilitation
· They will review how best to support those suffering from long-term yet treatable conditions, such as drug or alcohol addiction, or obesity, back into work. People who might benefit from treatment should get the medical help they need so they can return to work.
The Conservative manifesto threatens state benefit sanctions if they refuse a recommended treatment.
Other points that were not included in the manifesto but are likely to become relevant include the challenge of employment tribunal fees which were introduced by the coalition and which Labour had pledged to scrap, but the Conservatives had not.
And employees will be able to claim three days paid time off work every year to volunteer. Although the policy has much wider support, it could cost businesses as much as £2.34bn each year.
I guess now it is a case of lets see if this government stick to their promises and deliver on what was clearly put down in black and white.