The Telegraph (and various other news sources) today present the coalition’s plans for the “most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever unleashed by a government”.
As part if the consultation, the plans suggested are:
- increasing the requirement for continuous length of service from one year to two
- charging a fee to bring an employment tribunal claim
- giving small business certain excemptions to comply with employment law
The Mail and The Telegraph herald this as giving back power to employers in these difficult times.
Once again, I’m no economy expert, but what I do know is for the UK to get out if the mess it’s in, people need jobs, so they have money, so that they can spend, so that more people have jobs, so that more people can spend… Etc etc.
The danger with the suggested plans are very clear. It won’t make employers think “finally, now I can actually employ people” it will do the exact opposite “great I can get rid of people, save some cash,make more profit for me, and not worry about the consequences”.
It is demonstrably incorrect that individual employment tribunal claims have risen in the last 10 years. They have pretty much stayed the same.
As I blogged previously, increasing the unfair dismissal requirement to 2 years service won’t reduce claims much at all, and in any case, us creative lawyers will just probably pin our legal hat onto another aspect, probably equality, victimisation, bullying etc.
Adding a fee is pointless additional administration on the already overwhelmed employment tribunals. Given the number of cases that settle, all this plan will do is increase the payouts businesses have to make.
Finally, and perhaps the biggest surprise, is the suggestion of exemptions to certain employment laws. More details are needed at this stage, but one bandied around is reducing the length if sick pay payable by small employers.
I sincerely hope that the government do not curtail employment laws any further. While businessmen like Duncan Banatyne and the like might see employment laws as a hindrance to profitable business, actually what they mean is that they can’t manage staff but they are a neccessary evil to running a business.
The big problem with giving certain businesses exemptions is that it creates a multi tier of employment rights. Neither employees or employers will know exactly what they can or cannot do, which guess what, will mean more cases going to the tribunal!
Instead of attacking employment laws, the government should instead look at increasing small businesses awareness and understanding of employment law through training. Give small business owners free training courses on HR and people management and claims will fall.
Allowing businesses to “sack the slackers”, actually means giving them rights to run their business poorly, mismanage staff, and takes us back 30 years.