With Liz Truss recently appointed as the UK’s new Prime Minister, what could this mean for HR and employment law?
Looking again at IR35?
Over recent weeks, Liz Truss has indicated her intention to review the IR35 rules again. IR35 is the tax regime which governs the treatment of payments made to consultants and others who provide services to their ‘clients’ via a personal service company. These arrangements can sometimes look suspiciously like employment, yet they are structured in such a way as to minimise the payment of tax and NI.
Back in April 2021, laws were tightened in order to make it more difficult for people to reap the benefits of such arrangements. While businesses, accountants and lawyers are only just coming to terms with the new regime, Ms Truss has said that the system might need looking at again. She is concerned that the genuinely self-employed are being dragged into paying more employment taxes than they should.
Scrapping diversity and inclusions champions
On a rather different tack, Ms Truss has indicated an intention to scrap up to 350 public sector roles up and down the country, which are concerned with the promotion of diversity and inclusion. She has claimed that these roles may be a distraction from "delivering on the British people's priorities". Of course those minority groups who are most likely to suffer discrimination in the workplace might beg to differ.
Seizing Brexit opportunities?
Along with the more specific objectives set out above, Ms Truss has been a very vocal supporter of Brexit since we voted to leave the EU in 2016. She has trumpeted the possible efficiency gains to be made by taking a match to some of the EU regulation and red tape by which we are currently bound. This begs the question as to whether Ms Truss might have in mind the removal of some of the EU-based workers’ rights currently enjoyed by the UK workforce.
Some legal commentators and trade union activists are concerned about the possibility of a Truss-led government changing laws on issues such as holiday pay, equal pay and the current limits on working hours. Whilst it’s possible that the government could look to slim down employment protection laws in these areas, we remain unconvinced. After all, with a General Election expected in the next couple of years, can any government really afford to be seen to be watering down workers’ right at a time like this? We’re not so sure.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think a Truss-led government might mean for our employment laws? Get in touch and let us know