HR professionals believe complex employment legislation is hindering UK
productivity, according to a new CIPD report.
Three-quarters of those surveyed feel employment legislation is not clear
enough, while almost half believe there is insufficient guidance.
Geoff Armstrong, director general at the CIPD, said: "Government
departments should give more consideration to alternatives to state regulation
to meet employment policy objectives. And to think about how we can reduce the
pressures on business, without reducing minimum standards for employees.
"This may provide a respite for people management specialists who
report disillusionment with the volume and clarity of laws in the employment
The poll of 800 HR professionals shows employment legislation has the
biggest influence on the profession, with the Working Time Directive being the
most difficult to implement.
Armstrong said that managers are preoccupied with protecting against
legitimate breaches at the expense of concentrating on competitiveness and
productivity through better development and management of people.
"A key question is whether each piece of legislation is a proportionate
response to the issue being addressed," he said. "Each new regulation
should be looked at in relation to all those before it. Coherent regulation –
simply communicated, understood and applied – has to be the aim."
"People management practitioners get bogged down in translating the
regulations instead of focusing on their key challenge of bringing in and
bringing on talent."
He said the CIPD welcomed some employment legislation, such as the
Employment Bill. But he argued the primary aim must be to maintain the UK’s
competitiveness, and that a more sensible approach was needed.
By Paul Nelson