Trigger Happy is the title of HRZones’s web page devoted to employment legislation this month. Looking through the details of recent changes, it is less trigger-happy and more trigger-ecstatic. To think that businesses need to keep up with all these intricacies is bewildering. To put oneself in the position of a small business with a small staff is frightening. Surely enough to put off many of the best and brightest from taking a risk, utilising their entrepreneurial talent, benefiting themselves, their employees and the economy.
As an article in Director Magazine concluded: "For many smaller businesses, the red tape caused by employment legislation is a good reason to avoid hiring staff and using agency workers or freelance consultants is a tempting alternative."
To quote Claire Moran, the owner of the small business, Forge Public Relations:
From rules and regulations surrounding employment conditions, through the risk of being sued for constructive dismissal, to the difficulty of getting rid of unsuitable employees. All this makes the life of small business owners very difficult. They have to spend a huge amount of time on all of it, which distracts them from running the business.
With the UK economy looking decidedly shaky, it is time for employment legislation to be reviewed and scaled back. The confidence that this will give employers will override any government schemes designed to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses. In this respect – as with other contacts between the state and private businesses – governments need recognise that their meddling causes more problems than it solves. Perhaps in future, upon being elected they should be made to take the Hippocratic oath, promising to "do no harm".