New legislation dates could lead to rush on workplace policies

Employers
are concerned that the Government’s decision to introduce all employment
legislation on two set dates every year could lead to new workplace laws being
rushed.

Patricia
Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, announced on Monday that all domestic
employment legislation would in future come into effect on 6 April and 1
October.

The
move – to simplify employment laws for firms and cut red tape and bureaucracy –
begins with the Employment Act becoming law on Sunday (6 April). It covers all
domestic legislation, while European directives will be included from 2006.

Hewitt,
speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference, also said that
from next year the Department for Trade and Industry will publish an annual
statement of forthcoming legislation every January. 

However,
the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is concerned that
the decision could lead to impractical legislation.

Diane
Sinclair, lead adviser on public policy at the CIPD, said: “There is a risk
that legislation will be rushed through to meet a deadline. A number of changes
at one time could cause problems for companies, so staged changes could be more
helpful.”

Ed
Hilderbrant, HR manager at Panasonic, agreed: “It is marginally more positive
than negative because it should make legislation easy to track.

“But
I am concerned that if the Government has a deadline, it might rush through the
legislation without proper consultation and guidance for employers.” 

By Paul Nelson

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