Work: Key issues for the 2015 Parliament

This section of the Key Issues 2015 publication focuses on salaries, employment and young people in the labour market. This briefing was prepared by House of Commons Library researchers for Members of the new Parliament in 2015 and includes analysis of a range of subjects.


The National Minimum Wage

During the previous Parliament, the real value of the National Minimum Wage fell, reflecting a series of recommendations by the Low Pay Commission that sought to avoid pricing workers out of jobs whilst inflation was running above average wage growth.

Zero-hours contracts

After much debate in the last Parliament, opinions on zero-hours contracts (ZHCs) remain polarized. Employee organisations argue that they can leave workers and their families in a state of financial insecurity and uncertainty.

The self-employment boom

Self-employment has reached a record high of 4.5 million in 2014. The growth is likely to reflect both temporary and permanent changes to the economy, together with government policy, particularly on tax and welfare.

Employment tribunal fees

Claimants now have had to pay separate fees to issue their claim and have it heard, unless they qualify for a reduction or waiver on the grounds of having limited wealth and low income.

Young people in the labour market

The unemployment rate among young people is almost three times that of the rest of the population; youth employment rates are well below levels seen before the financial crisis; and under- 30s experienced the weakest wage growth of any group since 2008

Current Briefing Papers

The Key Issues articles were published in May 2015. However, the Commons Library produces new briefings as topics evolve.

Contact information

We provide MPs and their staff with impartial briefings to support their work in scrutinising Government, proposing legislation, and supporting constituents.

The Library's publicly available briefings are available on the website and if you wish to offer feedback, please contact: