No fault dismissal concept on dangerous ground says EEF

Posted on 6 Jun 2012 by The Manufacturer

A case for the no fault dismissal concept proposed in the recent Beecroft report remains unproven according to EEF members.

Following the furore caused by the Beecroft report and its no fault dismissal or ‘fire at will’ proposals, government called for evidence from UK employers to justify the case for such a reform of employment law.

Manufacturing employers assisting EEF’s submission of evidence on compensated no fault dismissal overwhelmingly expressed an opinion that the concept was a distraction from higher priority employment law reforms. This result reflects employer opinion submitted to TM in the wake of the Beecroft report’s release.

The EEF submission of evidence will suggest five priorities for employment reforms which manufacturers feel will deliver genuine benefits for business.

The concept of no fault dismissal was recently brought to the fore by the release of the Beecroft report. But EEF’s consultation with manufacturing employers shows that the concept has little support in industry. It is felt that the benefits of introducing no fault dismissal would be minimal and would make no difference to recruitment plans.

A fear that no fault dismissal would undermine achievement in creating workforce flexibility in the manufacturing sector was also expressed by employers.

Collating employer input into its submission, EEF has will propose a five point plan for employment law reform to government in its submission of evidence. This plan advises:

1. Accelerating plans to reduce the 90 day consultation period for collective redundancy to 30 days

2. Delivering on commitments to reduce the number and length of Employment Tribunals by streamlining the process, making greater use of conciliation and requiring claimants to lodge fees ahead of making a claim

3. Simplifying TUPE regulations to allow employers to harmonise terms and conditions of employees a year after the transfer of the business has taken place

4. Helping employers to manage performance by introducing protected conversations which give employers a safe space to discuss performance issues with employees without triggering legal action and making it simpler to reach compromise agreements if the employment relationship has come to an end.

5. Clarifying its plans for shared parental leave and ensuring that any such system is kept simple to operate

The call for evidence on no fault dismissal will close on Friday, June 8.

Commenting on EEF’s position in the no fault dismissal debate Chief Executive, Terry Scuoler said that while government was right to see labour market reform as a priority for stimulating growth, the case for no fault dismissal was unproven. “We are concerned that the controversy over no fault dismissal is distracting attention from the issues that really matter to business,” he stated.

“The government has many good ideas on collective redundancy, employment tribunals, TUPE and compromise agreements and it now needs to get on with implementing them before moving any further on no fault dismissal.”

For a review of the Beecroft report and the potential of employment law reform to stimulate growth read TM’s lead feature: Fire at will misses the point.

For more from Terry Scuoler on the importance of controlling sickness absence in creating workforce flexibility read: Back to Scuoler in TM June.