26 October 2018
Many of the policy announcements to come out of the Green Party’s Autumn Conference have focused improving the world of work, with commitments to paid training leave for all workers and higher wages for under-18s and apprentices.
Greens announced two new policies to support workers at the party’s Autumn Conference last weekend (5-7 October).
At the first conference since the election of Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley as new Co-leaders, the pair called for paid training leave for workers. The party has stated that ‘lifelong learning’ should be at the centre of employment, with investment in training and personal development during working hours helping to decrease staff turnover and encourage career progression.
“People need to be supported to thrive and grow while they are at work,” Berry said. “Lifelong learning should be available to everyone. Yet current employment law only allows workers in companies with over 250 employees to ask for unpaid training leave.
“Greens would change all that, so no-one has to feel stuck in one job for life. All workers should be able to grow and learn throughout their careers, get trained in the things they need to know for their next job, improve how they do the one they have or learn a new skill or trade.
“Today we are promising to fight for paid training leave for every worker. With the right political will we can transform employment into more than just work.”
This announcement comes as part of a wider vision to revamp the world of work, with another policy launched at conference focusing on pay for apprentices and under-18s. Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, recently re-elected for her third consecutive term in the position, said that the Greens will be supporting a living wage for apprenticeships because “a fair workplace has to be fair for apprentices as well.”
Currently, people in apprenticeships are only entitled to the national minimum wage, limited to £3.70 per hour for apprentices under the age of 19, as well as for those 19 or over who are in their first year. The standard minimum wage for their age is offered to those 19 or over who have completed their first year, rising to the highest rate of £7.83 per hour for those aged 25 and over.