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Telephone: 0131 662 6988
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Cramond Village
Telephone: 0131 336 1619

Free EnquiryEmployment Law

Will the deregulation of employment law jeopardise your rights as an employee?

As part of a drive to make running a business or organisation simpler, the coalition government has called upon the public to suggest which employment laws should be scrapped. While the Government insists that these changes are ‘vital for businesses’, there are those who believe that its effects will be detrimental to the rights of employees across the UK.

Change is a good thing?

The Programme for Government has stated that it intends to remove the ‘gold plating’ from directives implemented by the European Union (EU). The coalition believes that the previous government introduced these directives beyond the minimum required to comply with EU standards and it is these directives that are partly responsible for the UK’s slow economic recovery.

Although these reviews are intended to make running a business easier and less bureaucratic, there are concerns that the rights of workers are being held up as sacrificial lambs in the government’s quest to speed the country’s climb from the recent recession.

Which laws will change?

As of yet, the coalition has made no formal announcements as to which employment laws will be subject to deregulation. However, speculators suggest that it is likely to focus on laws implemented as part of the EU Directive. Those likely to be in the spotlight include:

  • The Part Time Workers Regulations 2000 and The Fixed Term Employees Regulations 2002 - Both these regulations were set out to prevent the less favourable treatment of part-time and fixed-term workers with regard to their wages and the amount of time they can claim as holiday. Possible amendments could include the introduction of a qualification period for part-time workers to achieve the same rights as those in full-time employment, and the exclusion of casual workers from The Part Time Workers Regulations.
  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 - These laws, although not yet put into place, were proposed to close the divide between agency workers and full-time employees. As part of the deregulations, it is thought that the litigation surrounding pay for agency workers will be reviewed. The current proposals have not defined the level of pay that is acceptable and includes overtime, holiday pay and commission within its remit. Reviews are likely to recommend that all pay is limited to the basic wage as set by an individual organisation.
  • The Equality Act 2010 - This act has not yet been fully implemented and, given that it was part of the EU’s directive, looks unlikely to be. Most likely to be in the firing line is legislation surrounding recruitment and promotion. In addition, the Conservative Party has long been opposed to the laws governing private sector gender pay reporting provisions; a review that is likely to be perceived as unpopular.

Until the Government makes its stance on individual laws absolutely clear, speculation will undoubtedly be rife. However, it seems safe to assume that the intent to make businesses easier to run will have far greater ramifications that simply greasing the wheels of British industry.

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