What will a change in leadership in the Conservative party mean for SME business and our people practices? 

One thing we can be sure of is that the HR and employment law landscape will be very different depending on who takes over.

Here’s an idea of what they are proposing and how it might be useful to prepare for what changes might be seen over the coming months.

During her first 30 days, Liz Truss plans to introduce legislation which requires minimum staffing levels for strike action. The threshold will be set individually for each industry, including for transport, education, healthcare, postal workers and energy. We are all aware that strikes continue to impact our daily lives and have a knock-on affect to our business operations, but will reforming the industrial action process help ensure business operations don’t suffer?  The feeling is that this will be welcomed by employers, but it is likely to result in a significant push back from trade unions.

Interestingly, Truss is also looking to remove standalone diversity and inclusion (D&I) jobs within some sectors. With conflicting views over the efficacy of direct D&I roles, we are a strong advocate of the responsibility sitting with line managers to ensure the workplace is diverse, equal and inclusive for all, but may critics believe it should be the role of HR within the business. We are keen to see how this develops and unfolds.

Finally, we are all aware that if elected, Truss proposes to remove the controversial National Insurance increase that was put in place this year to fund health and social care.

Meanwhile in the Sunak camp, proposals include scrapping the current Apprenticeship Levy and instead creating new incentives for business to invest in training and upskilling, which should help and support the SME market as opening up the scope of it to be a wider training levy would likely see more businesses utilise and benefit from it.

Sunak also plans to publish a “manifesto for women’s rights.” It’s unclear exactly what will be included within this, and as “a woman of a certain age”, I await the outcome of this with some scepticism!!

The existing Government has already started to introduce a number of initiatives to better support women in the workplace, including through the work done by the Women and Equalities Committee and creation of the UK Menopause Taskforce. Our advice remains that employers should recognise that this remains a focus of government, so we can expect more in the coming months on the support that could be available to women in the workplace.

Finally, is Sunak gets his way, NHS patients could be charged for each second or subsequent appointment they miss. The result for businesses?  If employers cancel or refuse an employee’s time off to attend a medical appointment, they might be liable for paying this fee.  What this space!

So, for now, we’ll keep a watchful eye on their proposals and let you know of any potential changes that may be needed in your business.


  • With over 20 years' experience in structuring and growing businesses and teams from inception, through periods of growth and change and finally structuring them ready for sale, Karen and her team have helped dozens of business owners and leaders manage growth and change within their business by concentrating on the human side of running and managing a business. An experienced Organisational Coach and HR Consultant, Karen has extensive experience in working with growth SMEs and a proven background in delivery and development of employees against business goals, her specialism is in working with small and medium size companies, delivering operational, people-based solutions that are commercially focused and enable growth of the business. Karen also works as a Non-Executive Director and Trustee and is a trained Predictive Index (PI) Analyst.

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