Following the release of a report by KPMG and CIPD, which claims that 800 businesses surveyed believe that many employment laws have little value and should be repealed, Audrey Williams, Head of Discrimination at international law firm Eversheds comments:
“The KPMG/CIPD report mentions the Working Time Regulations, the Agency Workers Regulations and the current paternity leave legislation as being of particular concern for those employers who responded to the survey.
“The Working Time Regulations, which govern working hours and holidays, and which, according to today’s report are seen as a “barrier to business”, are likely to come in for close scrutiny as part of the government review announced last week. The coalition has already said it plans to work to limit the effect of the EU Directive on which the regulations are based but a dramatic cull of employment laws is out of the question. Quite apart from the unlikelihood of the Lib-Dems agreeing to such an approach, much of our legislation is a requirement of EU membership; and although the governments stated commitment to avoid ‘gold-plating’ EU rules means that some of those regulations could be scaled back, there is only so far the government can go.
“However, the flow of new workplace regulations will not be stemmed completely. New regulations on maternity and paternity leave which offer flexible parental leave to be shared between mothers and fathers can be expected, which may assist in a cultural change which will see more fathers taking up their right to paternity leave. The KPMG/CIPD report reveals only 40% of organisations offer working fathers two weeks leave at near, or full pay. The government’s programme, which will be revealed in more detail later this week in the Queen’s Speech, also indicates that all employees will be given the right to ask for flexible working and that the default retirement age, which enables employers to retire older employees against their wishes, is to be phased out. Whether the Equality Act will take effect may also be revealed, as will the new government’s plans, if any, for the Agency Workers Regulations.”