The Government is to review areas of employment law including compensation for discrimination and the current 90-day timescale for firms to consult over job losses. Ministers said they wanted to consult on a number of new areas as part of its “root and branch” review aimed at boosting employment.
The Government said fairness to individuals would not be compromised, but it wanted to make legislation easier and more efficient in a bid to cut red tape.
Ministers said they will investigate reforming compensation for discrimination following employer concerns due to the high levels of employment tribunal costs.
“Compensation levels for cases of discrimination are unlimited and employers worry that high awards may encourage people to take weak, speculative or vexatious cases in the hope of a large payout. This can lead to employers settling such cases before they reach a tribunal,” said a report by the Business Department.
Employers were also said to be anxious about the current obligation that consultation over collective redundancy runs for a minimum of 90 days was deterring their efforts to restructure efficiently and retain a flexible workforce.
Also under the spotlight will be The Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE), which implement a European directive and protect employees’ terms and conditions of employment when a business is transferred from one owner to another, currently thought to be far too bureaucratic by many business groups.
Recently the government announced plans to look at more flexible working practices and to introduce a new system of shared parental leave to make family responsibilities more manageable and will be implemented by 2015.
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.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “We welcome the proposed extension of the right to request flexible working. But we are very worried by the other proposals up for review. Making it easier to make people redundant and giving the workforce less time to come up with alternatives to job losses threatens to make unemployment even worse.”