Major review Of Employment regulations?

…I don’t think so

In a speech to employers, George Osbourne announced a review of employment law and cited examples of red tape he wanted to remove from business. The main areas he mentioned were:

1) The 90 day consultation period

This only applies to those exercises where more than 99 people are in danger of losing their jobs, so it will not affect the majority of redundancy exercises. The argument is that if you have to consult for 90 days that does not allow the business to move quickly to ensure its survival. There may be a case for this (although I haven’t seen any evidence to back up this claim). However businesses can always lay off staff with no work during the consultation period, thus reducing overheads.

2) A cap on awards in discrimination cases

Although such cases are high profile and usually fairly unpleasant (if there is such a thing as a pleasant tribunal claim), they only amounted to 10% of the claims made in 2009-10 and less than 3% of successful claims in the same period. Also even with the small number of high profile cases with staggering awards, the median award for successful discrimination claims was still under £10,000. This is  a substantial award for a small business to find, but I can’t see any cap being introduced which is sufficiently low to affect that figure by much.

3) Less bureaucracy involved with the national minimum wage

For most of my clients they have been complying with this legislation for years now and removing it is not going to make that much difference to employers as they either have software that deals with most of the issues or they have an accountant who does it.

4) An unspecified proposal regarding the transfer regulations

Whilst there are some technicalities which could do with being tidied up this is inherently tied in with European legislation, so it is difficult to see what changes could be made, coupled with that most transfers are relatively straightforward, the
complicated bit is deciding whether the regulations apply or not.

So all in all the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a review of things that either don’t happen that much or he has no power to change.

Unfortunately I have become cynical in my advancing years and in my grumpier moments all I can see is another set of poorly drafted legislation which ties us up in the European courts for years to come and only benefits lawyers and ancillary trades but does nothing to help business produce the growth we need to get out of recession.

There I feel better for that now I’d better go and fix the washing machine. Equilibrium restored

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