Advice for employers ahead of 2019 general election

13 November 2019


2019 has certainly been an eventful year for politics in the UK and with the upcoming general election on 12 December, there is more scope for political conversation and debate than ever.

Naturally, discussions of this nature will spill over into the office, so PA Life has offered some useful tips for organisations, as discussions regarding political persuasion and beliefs can often escalate and become confrontational and unpleasant. The advice is that, whilst political conversations cannot be stopped, employers should remind their staff of the requirement to respect each other’s views and must also clearly state what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Special attention must be placed on preventing harassment against employees via political beliefs, particularly on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.

Expressing political allegiance through visible means, for example, clothing, should be prohibited in the workplace. This may be particularly relevant if staff are customer-facing. Similarly, restrictions should be imposed on the use of workplace social media and IT equipment, which will work to prevent employees from expressing their personal political viewpoints in a way which will then directly reflect on their employer.

In terms of allowing staff to take time off to vote, there is currently no statutory obligation for organisations to offer this. If a company does decide to grant any leave for this reason, the same rules should apply to all staff, or only offered in individual cases where more flexibility is required. Employers need to be careful to ensure that they are not discriminating against anybody when allowing time off to vote.


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