Employers struggle to keep up with changes to the law

Employers are struggling to keep up with the increasing burden of employment law because of a lack of resources and inadequate guidance from government, researchers have warned.

A survey of 600 HR professionals by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and law firm Lovells, reveals than more than half of employers believe that there is too much legislation governing employment.

Almost two-thirds cited a lack of resources, such as staff, time and budget, as a major challenge in the effective implementation of employment law, while 43% said guidance the government provides is inadequate.

But the research also highlights the positive impact of legislation, with almost two thirds of respondents stating that existing employment law has helped them to earn the trust of their employees and ensure that they feel fairly treated. More than half of employers say that legislation can drive good practice and more than 80% believe it can drive change.

Respondents cited the Disability Discrimination Act, the Race Relations Act, the Sex Discrimination Act and the right to request flexible working legislation as good examples of employment law.

Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, said the government must encourage employers to invest in introducing the policies, training and effective communication that will result in positive change in the workplace.

“If employment legislation has a clear purpose, fits with the UK’s flexible labour market and is well drafted it can act as an important lever for change,” he said.

“For this to happen the government must consult with employers before legislation is drafted and showcase the business case for good employment practice.

“Only then will employers recognise how legislation ties in with good people management and development, and understand how central this can be to business success,” Willmott added.

What’s holding you back?

The main obstacles to effectively implementing changes in employment law are:

  • Too much legislation (63%)
  • Lack of resources, such as staff, time and budget (62%)
  • Lack of senior management buy-in (50%)
  • Inadequate guidance from government (43%)
  • Lack of awareness of changes to legislation (39%)

Source: CIPD/Lovells

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