· 2 min read · Features

If it ever gets to the point of a reduction in employee protection, HR has failed

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I am so excited. In 2012, there is going to be jobs growth and a turnaround in the UK economy. All the worries about rising unemployment will disappear. Yes, the Government is finally tackling the most important cause of the disastrous financial situation the country finds itself in. It is overhauling employment law, says HR magazine editor Sian Harrington (pictured).

Now I agree there is much that can be done to make laws protecting workers simpler and more coherent. Indeed, this month, HR launches a campaign calling for the creation of a taskforce, that includes HR directors, to bring a joined-up approach and develop a legal framework that encourages fairness on both sides.

But, if a change in the law to make it easier for businesses to sack workers, reduce consultation times and introduce 'protected conversations' really does kickstart growth, I will give £100 to a charity nominated by a reader, after I have eaten my hat.

As much as I agree there are people who exploit the system and that firms can spend a large amount of time, and money, dealing with tribunal claims, the majority of workers are not chancers and deserve protection from unscrupulous bosses - and, believe me, there are as many of them out there as workers taking the proverbial.

The reality is, this is steeped in political posturing. It is a distraction. It will not encourage job creation. Show me a company that needs to create jobs to satisfy a new customer deal, or deliver a better service to clients, but does not do so because it is afraid an employee may take it to court, and I will show you a business that is defunct.

The Government is pandering to the business lobby and deflecting the argument away from more difficult-to-solve issues and also politically unpalatable solutions.

Moreover, it is missing the point. It is not employment regulation per se that is angering HR directors. As employment relations minister Ed Davey says, we live in one of the least regulated labour markets in the world. No, it is the fact that dealing with flip-flopping governments with pet policies and constant consultations is way too complex and lacks transparency and commonsense. If it gets to the point where we need a reduction in hard-won employee protection, we may as well say HR has failed.

There are already ways to deal with under-performance and we all know clear communication is vital to a healthy working environment. The problem is, too few of those siren voices whispering in prime minister David Cameron's ear seem to know how to measure performance and how to have this conversation.

Firms that treat staff fairly through redundancy, that use outplacement services to give them a better chance of getting a new job - these are the companies in which talented, engaged people will want to work. If this overhaul occurs as suggested, employment law will become the next big differentiator in business. You heard it here first.