Published on 17 - March - 2010
Employment law is stifling UK competitiveness, says BCCNew report from the British Chambers of Commerce finds that the 'relentless flow' of complicated employment law is risking future job creation and making the UK and EU uncompetitive.
The report, published yesterday, came ahead of the official labour market figures, which today revealed that unemployment had reached 2.45m. The BCC argues that basic workplace protections have been replaced with burdensome regulations and unreasonable health and safety restrictions.
BCC director general David Frost said: "There is an emerging consensus that employment law is now weighed too far in favour of the employee. Many rights come from the EU legislation, which is informed by and aimed at labour markets very different to our own. The result is that the UK and EU are be coming increasingly uncompetitive due to he rising cost of labour."
The BCC believes the average waiting time of 20 weeks for a first hearing at an employment tribunal in unacceptable and should be reduced to no more than 16 weeks.
It also disputes the current rule that employees are able to make claims against their employer without taking any advice on the merits of their claim, and argues that any staff member making a claim must receive advice from either a solicitor or Acas before submitting a formal claim or complaint.
Another point the BCC is unhappy with is the responsibility of employers to ensure the health and safety of home workers in the same way as they do for staff based at their premises. Currently this involves carrying out a risk assessment and an assurance that lighting and glare within a worker's home is safe. The BCC believes employers should only be responsible for the equipment they have provided to a remote worker and that the employee should be responsible for the health and safety in their own home.
Mr Frost concluded: "Encouraging job creation - and therefore wealth creation - must remain the government's priority as economic recovery continues. A three-year moratorium on the implementation of new employment law is crucial, as is cancelling the 1% hike in employer National Insurance contributions planned for April 2011."
The report's full findings will be presented to Lord Mandelson and Ken Clarke when they meet to debate at the BCC's annual conference tomorrow.
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