Government to push ahead with review of employment law

The Government has pledged to continue its scrutiny of the rules governing employment.

New areas under consideration for reform are the levels of compensation for workplace discrimination and the laws that protect workers when a business is transferred from one owner to another.

Currently employers cannot release staff before 90 days of informing them that they are no longer required.

The Government is concerned that such a time span makes it difficult for firms to restructure and to keep hold of a flexible workforce.

The Department of Business said: “Employers in financial difficulty worry about how long they need to keep paying staff after it has become clear that they need to let them go.”

The Government also looks set to move on workplace discrimination claims which, many businesses argue, give rise to compensation awards that are disproportionate or that encourage cases that are speculative, weak and vexatious.

Employment Relations Minister, Edward Davey said: “The areas we are reviewing are priorities for employers. We want to make it easier for businesses to take on staff and grow.

“We will be looking carefully at the arguments for reform. Fairness for individuals will not be compromised – but where we can make legislation easier to understand, improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy we will.”

Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: “A review of employment law is long overdue. Workplace relationships have changed dramatically over the last decade, with employers and employees engaging in a more flexible, personalised way, and it’s time the law reflected this.

“The Government is right to look at ways of reducing regulatory burdens on businesses, because this will help free them up to create jobs and drive growth.

“We have been calling for changes to the rules around tribunal awards and collective redundancies, as these are a disincentive for firms to hire, so we welcome the review’s focus on these areas.”

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