The new Prime Minister - more changes to employment law than Brexit…

Potential changes to employment law that might be made by the UK’s new Prime Minister.

The most repeated quote from Theresa May’s speech on 11 July (launching her campaign to become Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the UK) has been “Brexit means Brexit”.

We have already looked at the implications that Brexit might have on changes to employment law (see here) and concluded that wholesale repeal might be unlikely. Greater changes might be anticipated from our own Government if the indications given in Theresa May’s speech are followed through.

Employees represented on company boards

Ms May has made it clear that she wants employees represented on company boards. This is part of her desired changes to the way that big business is governed: “The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long-term and defend the interests of shareholders. In practice, they are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team and - as we have seen time and time again - the scrutiny they provide is just not good enough.”

Pay - getting tough on corporate irresponsibility

Ms May made it clear that she wants to:

  • make shareholder votes on corporate pay not just advisory but binding
  • see more transparency, including the full disclosure of bonus targets and the publication of “pay multiple” data: that is, the ratio between the CEO’s pay and the average company worker’s pay, and
  • simplify the way bonuses are paid so that the bosses’ incentives are better aligned with the long-term interests of the company and its shareholders.
Equal pay

Ms May noted that “If you’re a woman, you still earn less than a man” but did not go on to make any suggestions as to what she might do to change this - perhaps in reliance on the fact that we are still awaiting final regulations on gender pay transparency (further details are available here).

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.