The Government has come under fire from its backbenchers for botching the
consultation on the draft Part-time Work regulations.
The House of Commons Education and Employment Committee, which has been
scrutinising the legislative process and is made up mainly of Labour MPs, has
published a scathing report on the Government’s handling of the regulations.
It echoed the criticisms already made by employers in Personnel Today that
the six weeks provided for consultation was not long enough and the document
was short and badly written (News, 8 February).
Meanwhile, the final draft of the law has still not been published despite
being due to go live this Friday (7 April).
It will not be known until it comes out whether the law will apply to
"employees" or the much wider group of "workers".
As Personnel Today went to press, ministers were still considering
consultation responses. A DTI spokeswoman was unable to say whether the
implementation date will be put back.
Tom Fleming HR director of Jewson said: "This reinforces my view that
the whole time table is driven by a desire to get the legislation in place and
active rather than the desire to get it right."
Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Statute and
Practice and Personnel Today’s partner in the campaign for better consultation,
said this has been the worst example of the Government getting it wrong.
"After his experience with Rover you would have thought Stephen Byers
would be more sympathetic for the need to consult before things happen,"
he said. He called for the implementation date to be delayed by a month.
The Education and Employment Committee said it was not convinced by the
Government’s reasons for the short consultation process.
"Although we recognise the value of private and informal consultation,
we do not believe it should be treated as a substitute for an open public
consultation exercise," the report says.