Employers say most laws aren't "red tape"

Concerns about excessive employment law have been put to the test, and a new poll finds that most UK employers believe these laws are necessary.

It means there does not need to be a "bonfire of employment law" after Brexit, according to the HR body CIPD. Together with employment law firm Lewis Silkin, the CIPD polled more than 500 employers to find out whether 28 different aspects of employment law where seen as necessary.

The list included unfair dismissal laws, rated as necessary by 93% of businesses, as well as national minimum wage (87%), parental rights at work (82%), agency workers laws (75%) and the Working Time Regulations (74%). All 28 areas of employment law surveyed were rated as necessary by a majority of employers.

As the UK prepares to negotiate its exit from the EU, the authors of the report, Employment Regulation in the UK: Burden or Benefit?, say the findings show there is "broad support among employers for the UK's employment rights framework including EU-originated legislation".

Rachel Suff, employment adviser at the CIPD, said: "This research shows that in many ways, the rhetoric around employment law simply does not match the reality. While much has been written about the need to roll back important aspects of our employment law framework to free businesses of red tape, it is clear that businesses themselves recognise the value of employment protection."

However, not all respondents are positive about some key employment laws as they stand. The research found that while agency workers laws are rated as necessary by 75% of businesses, only a third (36%) said they are well drafted and easy to apply. Similarly, 83% of businesses said whistle-blowing laws were necessary but only 41% said they are well drafted and easy to apply.

The research also finds that more than half (52%) of employers go beyond what's required when it comes to employment law, while 44% say they meet the minimum requirements. When asked what areas should be the focus of future legislation, 36% said employee wellbeing and 30% cited technology.

"As we debate the future of employment regulation, both in the general election and in Brexit negotiations, it is vital that we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater by making sweeping changes to employment legislation that businesses may not want," said Rachel Suff.

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