Ministers' considerations of TUPE and redundancy consultation is music to my ears

27 May 2011

This is music to the ears of people trying to run businesses or public services which incur enormous costs and impaired efficiency as a result of the disproportionate way these laws operate in practice.

John Philpott of the CIPD said this week that the perception that UK businesses are bound up in employment legislation 'red tape' does not stand up to an examination of the evidence. Pointing to an OECD research finding that the UK has the third least regulated labour market in the world, he goes on to say that 'It is time UK businesses stopped seeing red whenever employment regulation is mentioned and instead adopted a more balanced, evidence-based perspective'.

I would respectfully point out that Mr Philpott already had occasion to eat his words earlier this year when he went on record saying that there's no need for reform of the ET system, and shortly afterwards the CIPD's Conflict Survey of its members revealed that three fifths of respondents had had employees tagging discrimination claims on to unfair dismissal cases in the hope of achieving greater compensation while 55% reported complaints against their organisations on malicious grounds. The caption of the associated press release was 'ET System is Broken'.

Perhaps Mr Philpott should think about what constitutes a relevant evidence-base. I suggest that if he were to get out and about on the ground, as I believe ministers have been doing, to see and hear the case studies of employers struggling with the law and the way it is being applied by ETs, he might not be quite so undermining of what he describes as the "drive to deregulate" advocated by sections of the business lobby.

I have met and spoken with many small business people who have experimented with various ways - some ingenious and some reckless - to grow their businesses without employing staff because the costs and risks of being an employer so are so unmanageable. I have encountered others who have been driven out of business by one vexatious claim against them. For the most part these are people who are genuinely keen to motivate their staff and treat them well.

I appreciate that the CIPD doesn't represent small businesses since most of them are too small to have HR professionals on their staff even if they are brave enough to employ a workforce. But I'm a CIPD member, a director of an SME organisation, and I can't believe that I'm in any way unique in thinking that Mr Philpott's bold statements about employment regulation are so far removed from my daily experience of the reality that he is surely guilty of ignoring both the evidence and the interests of the people who pay his salary.


In this issue: August 2015
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