TUPE rules should be watered down and workers should not be able to claim extra parental leave until after 2017, by which time the economy is expected to have improved, according to the Beecroft report which has been ‘leaked’ to a national newspaper.
The report – described as a “blueprint for growth” – is also said to propose dropping or at least putting off plans to give all staff flexible working options from next year, said the Daily Telegraph which has obtained the report. At the same time, small businesses should be allowed to opt out of seven pieces of legislation that could be costly to implement, especially providing mandatory pensions for all employees from this autumn.
Beecroft is said to have suggested diluting TUPE rules which oblige an organisation taking on staff from another organisation to respect their existing terms of employment. This is an especially hot issue for unions when private or third sector outfits take on outsourced public services.
The newspaper reckoned the report by the venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft said: “[Offering extra parental leave] is very expensive for the Exchequer (roughly £150m pa) and will impose significant operational problems on business. The proposal should (preferably) be scrapped or alternatively be deferred until the deficit has been eliminated. If it is introduced there should at least be provisions ensuring that employers are given reasonable notice of periods of absence.”
It is claimed that the report says of the pensions proposal: “It is unclear why introducing from 2012 a measure that will costs employers £6bn per year, individuals £7bn per year and government £2bn per year is sensible in the current economic climate.”
Other Beecroft proposals are said to include dropping plans to bring in equal pay audits, enabling big business to make more than 100 people redundant with 30 days’ notice (currently 60 days), and an online means of companies checking the legal employment status of anyone applying to work for them.
The report is quoted as saying: “[A] key issue is the burden that complying with a mass of different regulations places on the owner managers of very small businesses. The time taken in understanding and complying with a multitude of regulations is time that is not spent on growing and developing the business. Regulators often ignore the fact that many small businesses are run by people who are very proficient at the activity that is at the heart of their business, be it painting and decorating, cooking, driving or whatever, but have very limited administrative skills. A form that a bureaucrat could complete in a few minutes may take them many times as long.”
It goes on: “Potential employees would be told which regulations the employer had opted out of and would be free not to take the job if they did not wish to. If employers found that they could not recruit because they had opted out of certain regulations then they would generally choose to opt in to them.
“I recommend a non-statutory code of conduct. This will reduce the number of flexible working related employment tribunals and the general feeling among employers that they are weighed down by ever increasing employment legislation. If flexible working really is good for employers they will adopt it of their own accord, albeit possibly more slowly than if it is forced on them. For some employers it would clearly create real problems and they should not be forced to carry this cost.”