Raft of summer legislation could be counter-productive

The wave of employment legislation announced this summer could be counter-productive, a senior HR figure has warned.

Robert Ingram, HR director of global outsourcing at IT provider Capgemini, said the new laws could boost lawyers’ coffers more than workers’ rights.

In the past few months, the government has extended flexible working rights, boosted agency worker protection, strengthened equality laws, and given staff the right to request time off for training.

There is speculation that further employment law could follow this autumn as the trade unions pile pressure on the ailing government.

But Ingram told Personnel Today that while he agreed with the principles behind the laws, he was not convinced they would achieve the aim of protecting vulnerable workers.

“My concern is that this raft of legislation could increase the scope for dispute over entitlements, rather than constructive discussions between employers and employees about how they could work more productively,” he said.

“I’m sure in some sectors there is a need for greater protection, but in the professional sector there is a degree of discretion that can be exercised.”

Business secretary John Hutton said in May that the government had “successfully completed” its mission to update workplace law.

However, trade union leaders were outraged by this, and employment relations minister Pat McFadden this month refused to rule out further employment legislation this year.

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