Small firms have played a huge role in achieving the record-high employment rate we see today. We need to see more support for small firms in managing the costs that come with making high employment a reality. Employment laws regulate the relationship between an employer and a worker. Employment laws are enforced by Employment Tribunals (ET) in England, Wales and Scotland. The Working Time Directive (WTD) is a European Union (EU) law that gives workers in EU countries, rights to a minimum number of rest breaks, rest hours and holidays.
We want equality in the workplace and a fair system for employers and workers alike. We lobby policy makers and politicians here and in Brussels to understand the impact of employment laws on small firms and reduce unnecessary regulations.
Small businesses recognise the benefits of paying their staff a good wage and offering a range of workplace benefits. These include:
We’ve welcomed the gradual increases in the National Minimum Wage, reflecting the upturn in the economy. However, the Government’s decision to introduce a target of 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 will be a significant challenge for many small businesses. Those in the hospitality, care and retail sectors are likely to be most affected, as their profit margins tend to be tighter.
Since the recession the UK workforce has performed exceptionally well. Any future reforms of employment laws need to reduce red tape, while maintaining a fair balance of employment rights. Further reforms of Employment Tribunals will help regain confidence in the system for both small businesses and claimants alike.
We’ve always supported the National Minimum Wage. It has traditionally been set at a level that eliminates low pay without harming employment. Future wage rises must be sustainable and based on the advice of the independent Low Pay Commission. To help small businesses increase wages, the Government needs to ease financial pressures including rent and utility costs. Good first steps have been achieved with the cut in Employers’ National Insurance.
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Weekly Brief 41 - Friday 11 October 2019
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