The Institute of Employment Rights is concerned about the government’s proposed “employer’s charter”, currently under consideration.
The new proposals would mean employers would be able to fire underperforming staff during their first two years in a job and the employee would not be able to take the case to an employment tribunal. This, the IER says, could leave employees exposed to unfair dismissal. The current regulations mean unfair dismissal claims can be brought after 12 months of employment.
The government claims the aim of the proposal is to stimulate private sector growth but Carolyn Jones, the IER’s director, says that the coalition has lost touch with reality as far as employment rights are concerned.
Members of the UK200Group have been quick to comment on David Cameron’s proposals.
Jonathan Russell, the Group’s Vice President, said that a lot of companies believe employment legislation has moved too far in favour of the worker with the result that SMEs are reluctant to hire people to meet their short-term needs. Any move that makes it easier for SMEs to take a more flexible stance has to be welcomed.
James Abbott, a tax partner and Baker Watkin, also welcomes the decision. He says he has personal experience of overseas businesses not investing in this country because of the current employment regulations.
However, employee relations might suffer less if the government encouraged companies to make more use of umbrella company contractors. Firms would then reduce the administrative costs associated with permanent hires, especially in cases where the need is for a short-term project. The UK’s contractor workforce is flexible and can called on at short notice.
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