Red-tape war on work rules

IN A bid to counter accusations that it is not doing enough to reduce red tape, the government yesterday revealed plans to review three key areas of employment law.

The government is considering reducing the 90-day required consultation period over collective redundancies, as well as capping compensation in discrimination awards at employment tribunals. Businesses have criticised both as a disincentive to hire. It is also mulling a simplification of the TUPE Regulations, designed to protect employee terms when a business is sold.

Employment relations minister Edward Davey said the reforms would “make it easier for businesses to take on staff and grow.”

Chancellor George Osborne also chipped in: “I say to the business community ... don’t be passive observers. Don’t stay on the sidelines. Get stuck in to the argument.”

Unions panned the proposals, saying it would be harder for staff to challenge unfair treatment. Unison demanded “urgent talks” with government over the plans.

Meanwhile, in a report out today the CBI revealed that workplace absence rose last year, with each UK employee taking an average of 6.5 days off sick – a total of 190m working days – costing employers an estimated £17bn.