Employment red tape reviewed

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The Government has launched a “real debate” with businesses and employees about the regulations which determine rights in the workplace.

Ministers have promised to identify employment law which can be “simplified, merged and abolished” to make it easier for businesses to hire staff.

However, employment relations minister Edward Davey has said the Coalition will not “water down” employee rights.

The consultation comes after new rights for 1.4m temporary workers took effect, giving them equal pay and conditions rights with full time staff after 12 weeks of continuous employment.

The Business Department said 160 employment regulations would be out for review for the next three weeks, taking in collective redundancy rules, to immigration checks and the operation of the national minimum wage.

Mr Davey said: “We often hear that employment related regulation prevents firms from growing and employing more people.

“Whether it is the filling out of endless forms when you hire your first member of staff, the complexities of letting somebody go, or simply manage staff on a day-to-day basis, we want to review these regulations with the aim of giving business greater confidence in employing people and creating more jobs.”

The EEF (formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation), representing manufacturers, said the Government could make a difference by blocking proposed EU law changes on working hours and rights for pregnant workers and rethinking new domestic regulations on equal pay audits and employment tribunal fines.

Steve Radley, policy director at the EEF, said the review had to be more than just fixing a few “nuts and bolts” at the edges.

“The red tape challenge will only really have delivered success if it achieves one or two significant outcomes,” he said.

“The problem with the red tape challenge is it doesn’t include EU law. The Government has got to work harder at building an alliance in Europe. The fact we’re now going through a period of much weaker economic growth should help get a new approach to employment law.”