The National Living Wage will rise and workers on short-term contracts will be given more protections under a government led by Theresa May, the Tories say.
The party will unveil its programme for workers’ rights at its manifesto launch this week, which includes the right to request leave for training, to care for a family member or after the death of a child.
The Conservatives say they want to ‘strike a fairer deal for ordinary working people’ and will also introduce unspecified ‘new protections’ for workers who are part of the gig economy, either self-employed or on short-term contracts.
It follows the commissioning of the Matthew Taylor review late last year, which will look at how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models.
May will announce the plans on a visit to a training facility in the south east.
“I said I would use Brexit to extend the protections and rights that workers enjoy, and our manifesto will deliver exactly that,” she will say.
“Our plans, backed up with strong and stable leadership, will be the greatest expansion in workers’ rights by any Conservative government in history.
“By working with business, reducing taxes and dealing with the deficit we have delivered steady improvements to the economic prospects of working people. Now is the time to lock in that economic growth and ensure the proceeds are spread to everyone in our country.”
The party will also commit to ensuring all workers’ rights currently guaranteed under EU law will remain and says it will ensure the National Living Wage rises in line with median earnings every year until 2022.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the commitments were ‘promising’, but urged the party to specify the protections on offer and confirm it is sticking to its original target of implementing a £9 living wage by 2020.
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election campaign chair, has accused May of ‘taking working people for fools’.
He added: “Theresa May and her Tory government have failed to stand up for workers; with hundreds of thousands not being paid the money owed to them, thousands unable to get their case against their employer heard and hundreds of complaints of employment agency malpractice going un-investigated.
“The Tories have spent the last seven years prioritising the few, opposing Labour’s proposals to give workers more rights and overseeing wage stagnation which has left people worse off.
“Today’s ridiculous claims are yet more evidence that this election is a choice between a Tory party that fails working people and a Labour Party that will stand up for working people and deliver a better, fairer Britain.”