In the second part of the Channel 4 Jobs Report, Sarah Smith hears what employers believe are the problems with UK employment law – and their solution for kick-starting the jobs market.
The Channel 4 Jobs Report is collecting ideas for how to create 2.5 million new British jobs. I’ve been talking to some of the bosses who are hiring new staff about what might convince them to take on even more people.
Simon Dolan has some very clear, if controversial, ideas about how to get Britain back to work. He owns several businesses including a motor racing team, a board games company, a perfume firm and mid-sized accountancy practice that employs several hundred people.
He thinks it would be much easier for companies to hire more people if they could fire them more easily. He claims that employers are frightened to get rid of poorly performing workers because it’s so easy for sacked employees to take their former boss to an unfair dismissal tribunal. And that is deterring firms from hiring in the first place.
Mr Dolan is certainly not the only boss in Britain to complain that employees have too many rights and employers too few. But he argues that we should also get rid of sex and race discrimination legislation in order to jump-start the jobs market.
Mr Dolan is certainly not the only boss in Britain to complain that employees have too many rights and employers too few. But he takes it further than most. He argues that we should also get rid of sex and race discrimination legislation in order to jump-start the jobs market.
The coalition government knows lots of businesses are unhappy with current employment legislation and are arguing among themselves over what to do about it. Soon you will have to have been in a job for two years, not one, before you get your full employment rights. And from next year you will have to pay a substantial fee before you can take a case to an industrial tribunal.
Later this week the Department of Business will also launch a consultation on ‘no fault’ dismissal procedure. A system that would allow employers to get rid of staff for ‘no fault’ if they agree to pay them a few months salary in return. There are those inside Number 10 who firmly believe that a radical overhaul of employment laws is essential if we are going to jump start the jobs market. But they are meeting a lot of resistance from the Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Stephen Baxter is another job creator taking part in the Channel 4 Jobs Report. A dynamic Glaswegian, he recently took over a commercial laundry firm in West Yorkshire. With big plans for expansion he plans to take on an extra 100 employees this year. 100 brand new jobs for salespeople, technicians and engineers. And he is not at all deterred by employment law. As long as you are careful to hire the right people in the first he doesn’t see any reason why you should want to then fire them. And if you do need to get rid of someone who is performing well he says it’s not hard to do so legally.
Overhauling employment law is just one of many ideas proposed by business to make it easier to create new jobs. And one that is highly politically contentious. Over the next few weeks I’ll be exploring lots of other suggestions about where we are going to find 2.5 million new British jobs. And asking you to contribute your own ideas for creating the jobs this country needs.