23/11/11

Commenting on the package of employment law changes announced by the Business Secretary today (Wednesday), Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Employment regulations often create uncertainty for businesses and act as real barriers to confidence, growth and job creation. The BCC has long called for a reduction in red tape and a shake-up of the Employment Tribunal system, so we welcome the government’s reform proposals, which respond directly to business concerns.

“Businesses currently feel like the deck is stacked against them. Mandatory ACAS involvement and new claimant fees will make the Tribunal System fairer by ensuring that baseless claims are weeded out, and the pressure to settle is reduced. Our research* shows that 37 percent of cases are settled before a hearing because it is the cheaper and easier option for employers – this has to change.

“The proposal to investigate a fast-track scheme for simple claims could also help. With the assurance that all claims will be dealt with in three months, this is an attractive proposal to both claimant and employer alike. Once these reforms are in place, firms won’t have to waste time and money and can focus on running their business and delivering growth instead. It will also mean that genuine grievances get a better hearing.

“Tribunal reforms, simplified compromise agreements and ‘protected conversations’ between employers and employees would help companies create jobs and deliver growth. On that basis, we would urge ministers to implement these proposals without delay.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

*This statistic is taken from the BCC report entitled The Workforce Survey: small businesses.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.

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk