21/05/12

Commenting on the proposals outlined in the Beecroft Report, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Adrian Beecroft is right to point out that at a time when millions of people are unemployed, ministers should be looking for ways to make it easier and less costly to employ people, not the other way around. Of course employment rights are important, but should be weighed against opportunities for the unemployed who are looking for work.

“Ministers should consider and progress all proposals that would give businesses greater confidence to hire - an outcome that would benefit companies, individuals and the UK economy as a whole."

Commenting on the proposal for a new compensated no-fault dismissal route:

“Employers tell us that hiring staff is expensive, so dismissing someone is always a last resort. We are not saying that businesses should be able to ‘fire at will’, but the fear of not being able to dismiss a troublesome employee prevents many businesses from recruiting

“A compensated no-fault dismissal route would be more favourable financially for an employee than if they were managed out of the business on performance grounds. Both parties would also avoid the emotional distress, uncertainty and reputational damage of an employment tribunal. Given that this dismissal route would be costly and would not provide the full protection offered by compromise agreements, it would only be used in extreme cases. The impact on employment rights would be minimal but would boost employer confidence and their inclination to take on more staff.

“Compensated no-fault dismissal should be introduced alongside changes to make compromise agreements easier for employers to use. This will help businesses create jobs for the large number of talented, hard-working people that are currently unemployed in the UK.”

Commenting on flexible working and shared parental leave proposals:

“Businesses are not against flexible working or shared parental leave as concepts, but face real problems when it comes to implementation. Most businesses cannot accommodate unlimited flexible working and are concerned by the potential damage to employee relationships if they grant one request and have to turn down a more worthy request later.

“Shared parental leave introduces new and serious complexity to the relationship between an employer and member of staff. For the first time the employer-employee relationship will be contingent on a third party – the employee’s partner’s boss. Employers should be able to focus on the day to day running of their business and creating jobs and growth, rather than managing the family matters of employees.”

Ends

 For further information please contact the BCC press office on 020 7654 5813 / 5812 or 07825746812 / 07717682221

Notes to editors:

Unlike compromise agreements, compensated no-fault dismissal would not protect the employer from future accusations of discrimination or dismissal for an automatically unfair reason, such as whistle blowing.

Having previously approved one pattern of shared parental leave, an employer faces the prospect of being asked to accept an alternative pattern because an employer they have never met wasn’t able to accommodate a request from an employee they haven’t met either.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media Contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: [email protected]

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: [email protected]