The Prime Minister’s proposed ’employers’ charter’ will allow companies to get rid of workers without the threat of being taken to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Under current legislation, an employee can bring an unfair dismissal claim against an employer after only a year, but the proposal is to double this, to give additional time leeway to business.
As a further deterrent to sacked workers seeking ‘vexatious claims’ a charge to take companies to an employment tribunal will also be introduced. The government believes that by relaxing the laws on employment, companies will be encouraged to take on thousands more staff.
As part of the shake-up of employment law, there is also planned to be a reduction in the length of time that employers have to pay workers statutory sick pay – currently at least £79.15 for up to 28 weeks – It is suggested that some small companies could be released from some employment regulation altogether.
It does appear that the government appears to be listening to business with these proposals, because as we reported last week, the British Chamber of Commerce appealed to the government on behalf of it’s members for a change in the employment tribunal system.
Jonathan Russell, partner at ReesRussell and vice-president of the UK200Group said of these plans: “Many businesses believe the current employment legislation, along with many other pieces of legislation, has reached a point where the balance has been moved too far in favour of the employee. This has led many small employers to hesitate when it comes to employing people particularly to meet short term needs.
Russell added “Anything which can help small businesses take a more flexible approach to their employment needs can only help. Short-term cover, in particular for maternity or sickness, are areas where the small employer frequently feels all the rights are with the employee to the detriment of their business.”