Government continues to erode employment protection
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 261 22 March 2012
Not content with increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one year to two, the government last week announced that it was seeking the views of interested parties about whether current dismissal procedures are too complex.
It also issued a “call for evidence” about the idea of introducing compensated no-fault dismissal for micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees, which would allow them to pay off a worker who had done nothing wrong with a specified amount of compensation.
As part of the review, the government says it wants to “understand” whether the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures “could be adapted to make it easier to use and more accessible to smaller businesses”. Short of asking outright for views that the code is a burden, the government could hardly be more blatant.
Responding to the call for evidence TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said:
“Employers already have powers to make fair dismissals for misconduct or poor performance. Giving bosses the right to act unfairly may go down well on the backbenches, but it will horrify employees.
“The TUC will provide evidence that there is no causal link between employment regulation and recruitment, and will demonstrate the real injustices that will result from employers being allowed to sack people on a whim and pay them a derisory arbitrary sum in compensation.”
Piling on the pressure, the government also announced last week that it has updated the Employer’s Charter, first published in January 2011, which is little more than a guide for employers about how to exploit the UK’s weak employment laws.
Even the government admits that its aim is “to counter the misconception that employment protections are all one-way - towards the employee”.
Finally, it published the employment law review annual update, which sets out in stark detail the government’s current programme for reducing employment law protection for employees.
Go to the website of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills to read all of these documents: