A recent report suggests that the government is clamping down on lazy workers in a bid to tidy up what is essentially a grey area in employment law and to help boost productivity in the UK economy. The report, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister, suggests that workers’ ability to claim unfair dismissal for being unproductive in their role should be reviewed. This would mean that more capable people could replace unproductive staff.
It has been reported that the document highlights the fact that under the current rules associated with employment law, unproductive workers can “coast along” in their job and can often prove virtually impossible to sack. The report suggests that moves are being made in order to change this, although Downing Street have supposedly said that any changes to unfair dismissal rules are highly unlikely.
The current unfair dismissal rules state that employees who have been in a role for 12 months or longer, can claim unfair dismissal if they feel they have had their employment terminated unjustly. The report was compiled by Adrian Beecroft, a well-known venture capitalist and regular Conservative donor.
There have been suggestions in the past from the coalition government that they plan to reform employment laws, not just those surrounding unfair dismissal, but how much impact this report will have, remains to be seen. The issues raised in the report highlight some of the issues that could account for some of the productivity issues that exist in the UK economy today. In the most basic terms, the report highlights the fact that employees can hide behind the current unfair dismissal rules, meaning that employees cannot remove unproductive workers.
Liberal Democrat, Norman Lamb, was outraged by the report and stated, “If every employee in the land faced the prospect that they could be removed arbitrarily, the destabilising effect could be devastating.” Similarly, Chuka Umuna, the shadow Business Secretary highlighted the fact that unemployment in the UK is at its highest rate in 17 years and politicians shouldn’t preoccupy themselves with finding ways to make it easier to employers to fire staff. Surely they should be looking for ways to create new jobs? What impact this report will have remains to be seen.
Your local employment solicitors can give you more information on the latest developments in employment law.