UKIP Manifesto: What it means for your business

Posted on: April 30th, 2015

Next in our review of the political parties’ manifestos is UKIP. In its 76 page manifesto document, UKIP make the following policy pledges in relation to employment.

Leave Europe.

Um…?

Okay, okay. Whilst UKIP’s main policy is of course the withdrawal from the EU, which would have inevitable consequences for UK employment law, combing through the manifesto, there are other pledges which are relevant to employers, including:

  • Introducing an Australian-style points-based system to manage the number and skills of people entering the country and highly skilled work visas to be limited to 50,000. On the face of it, a straightforward pledge, but one which doesn’t answer the fairly obvious question of what will happen to those employers who rely on unskilled foreign-born workers to keep the business running.
  • UKIP also promises it will be “fighting the stigma around mental illness and supporting those seeking to get back into work”. A worthy statement that everyone would no doubt agree with. We’d love to tell you how UKIP will do this, but they’ve forgotten to tell us in the manifesto.
  • UKIP will “introduce a “License to Manage” as a statutory requirement to prevent incompetent, negligent or bullying managers being moved sideways or re-employed by the NHS as external consultants”. We love this one. Think about it: a statutory requirement that managers have a “License to Manage”, much in the same way that drivers are required to have a License to Drive. Will there be a points-based system for minor infringements? Will we soon hear managers up and down the country announcing “Oh I’d love to join in with that slightly risqué workplace banter but I’ve got 9 points on my Management License”? Or “It wasn’t me harassing that employee, it was my wife. She’ll take the points”? (wrong party surely? – Ed.)
  • UKIP will scrap the EU working time directive which limits the working week to 48 hours. We’re confident that forcing people to work more hours with no option to refuse will be a big vote winner.
  • UKIP will not allow NHS or third parties under contract to employ home care workers on zero hours contracts. Also on the subject of zero hours contracts, UKIP will introduce a legally binding code of conduct stipulating that businesses hiring 50 or more people must give workers on zero hours contracts either a full or part time contract after one year, if the worker requests it. UKIP will also ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts and workers on zero hours contracts must be given at least 12 hour advance notice of work (and, once notice has been given, they must be paid for it, irrespective of whether or not they are actually needed). Unfortunately, UKIP (and, to be fair, every other party out there) is overlooking the fundamental issue that until we come up with a definition of “zero hours contracts” that can’t be immediately overcome by guaranteeing a person one hour of work a week, restrictions on their use are absolutely meaningless.
  • UKIP will ensure that travel between home care appointments is “working time” for the purposes of calculating the national minimum wage. This is of course already the case so we assume that by “ensure” UKIP means “take steps to enforce the law”.
  • UKIP will impose a statutory duty on all primary schools to offer before and after school care from 8am to 6pm during term time, with optional extension to all day provision during school holidays. Good news for working parents, possibly less so for primary schools.
  • As has previously been well publicised, UKIP will allow British businesses to choose to employ British citizens ahead of non-British citizens. As our readers will appreciate, under the current law, this would be called discrimination.
  • UKIP will enforce the minimum wage. How, it is not entirely clear.

After leaving the EU, UKIP will “adopt EU-driven workers’ rights into UK law”. Apart from the prohibition on working more than 48 hours a week. Or the prohibition on race discrimination in recruitment.

  • UKIP will also allow young people to start an apprenticeship in place of four non-core subjects at GCSE.
  • UKIP will introduce a new bank holiday: 23 April (St George’s Day) in England and 1 March (St David’s Day) in Wales. Few people would be too unhappy with this.

And finally…

Away from employment law, UKIP have promised to introduce the Citizen’s Initiative: “every two years we will allow a national referendum on the issues of greatest importance to the British public, gathered via an approved petition, provided the petition has more than two million signatures”.

Presumably this means we can have a national referendum on reinstating Jeremy Clarkson?

Next up, it’s over to the Liberal Democrats. Is anyone still wearing their, slightly faded, “I agree with Nick” T-shirt from five years ago?