New business legislation aimed at making life easier for small firms
Industry experts have displayed mixed reactions to Government measures aimed at reducing the administrative and regulatory burden on smaller firms.
Business Minister Mark Prisk recently told a Federation of Small Businesses
(FSB) conference in Liverpool the Government would implement a three-year moratorium on new business regulation for companies with fewer than ten employees.
Mr Prisk also announced plans to remove the rights of parents of children up to the age of 17 to flexible working hours, and to remove workers’ rights to request leave for training in companies with fewer than 250 staff.
Trade union Unite
has responded angrily to the proposals, with assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail commenting: "[The] announcement is the latest example of a policy that will make it harder for women to hold down jobs and make a valuable contribution to the economy and the financial well-being of their families.
"Last summer's emergency Budget saw a series of measures that hit women's income disproportionately harder compared with men's. The so-called Employer's Charter saw women bearing the brunt on all fronts, with maternity rights being under threat.”
Ben Willmott, senior policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
, on the decision to remove the rights of parents to flexible working hours:
“We understand the argument that multiple changes to flexible working regulations are not helpful. But this limited repeal mustn’t be seen as conceding the ill-conceived belief that flexible working can only ever be seen as a regulatory burden and a cost. Millions of workers already benefit from flexible working well beyond anything enshrined in legislation, because employers in firms large and small see the benefits they derive from a more flexible, more engaged, more diverse and more effective workforce as a result.”
Construction union UCATT
on the decision to remove workers’ rights to request time off for the training:
"The decision is particularly alarming for the construction industry, due to the fact that as the industry begins to recover from the recession an increasing number of new inexperienced workers will be recruited. Without proper training they could place themselves or their colleagues at risk.”