· 1 min read · Features

'Watering down' employment rights is not the answer to boosting the economy, CIPD warns


The Government’s plans to increase the unfair dismissal qualifying period from 12 months to two years were debated in a Delegation Legislation Committee yesterday afternoon.

Commenting on the proposals, the CIPD has warned watering down employment rights is not the answer to boosting jobs and economic growth.

Mike Emmott (pictured), employee relations policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "There is no evidence to suggest that extending the qualification period for an employee to claim unfair dismissal will have any significant impact on the number of claims brought against employers, let alone boost the economy by increasing employers' propensity to hire new staff. There are problems with poor performance and poor productivity in this country, but someone who is consistently coasting or slacking would find it difficult to successfully bring a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal if their managers have competently confronted and managed their resulting underperformance.

"Making it easier to dismiss staff without due cause is far more likely to harm the prospects of UK plc by fostering crude and out-dated attitudes to employment relationships that will put employees off from 'going the extra mile'. Unproductive and disengaged workers will cost firms far more than the threat of tribunals. For any one employee who reaches a point where their lack of performance warrants summary dismissal, there will be dozens more who are not performing to their full potential - with hugely damaging consequences for UK productivity and competitiveness.

"The current calls to curtail or undermine employment regulation are a distraction from the debate we ought to be having about how to boost economic growth and support our flagging tax base. A concerted government focus on encouraging better leadership and management in the UK would make a greater contribution to delivering growth through a re-energised and productive workforce than an unproductive and circular debate about the rights and wrongs of regulation."