Two pieces of legislation most considered a hindrance by businesses are the Working Time Regulations 1999 and the Agency Workers Regulations (which will come into effect in the UK in October 2011).
In private many business men will tell you that they are all about political correctness and are a further encumbrance of running a business efficiently
The Working Time Regulations has had negligible value in limiting unhealthy workplace behaviour and indeed the CIPD is calling for its repeal. As for the Agency Workers Regulations, which will give assigned temporary workers no less favourable treatment than if they had been recruited directly by the employer after a 12-week qualifying period, only 13% of employers consider that these measures will be helpful.
As for legislation finding favour among employers, the Disability Discrimination Act, Data Protection Act and Age Discrimination Regulations were all considered to be helpful by over 40% of employers taking part in the survey. In particular, employers welcomed the clarity that these laws have provided. Also, the National Minimum Wage is generally supported because of the protection it gives low-income workers, with 30% of employers believing that the adult minimum wage rate (currently set at £5.80) should be increased.
The CIPD surveys findings in relation to maternity and paternity pay found that whilst 52% of employers offer their employees enhanced maternity pay, businesses appear to be far less willing to offer similar enhancements to new fathers. As few as 24% of employers pay paternity leave beyond the initial two-week period and only 40% of employers enhance the statutory paternity pay level to anything near full pay during the two-week period.
Should this come as any surprise? It depends where you sit. If you are in the public sector or a union official you probably think that it is outrageous that businesses are not being more supportive. If you are a business owner or manager you are probably thinking. It is a struggle to survive and remain competitive, we are already an unpaid tax collectors for the government and now they want to burden us with more hostile legislation. Please get out of my face.
Author: Chris Slay
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