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Unfair dismissal laws ‘allow staff to coast’

27 October 2011

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A radical overhaul of Britain’s “terrible” employment laws is needed to promote economic growth, a report claims.

Under the new plans, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, the concept of unfair dismissal should be scrapped to allow companies find more “capable replacements”.

The recommendations have been made by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft and are understood to have the backing of both the Chancellor and Downing Street.

The report claims unfair dismissal rules leave public bodies “reluctant” to dismiss “unsatisfactory employees” and leads them to accept inefficiencies “they would not otherwise tolerate”.

Current laws also instill a belief that employees can “coast along”, Beecroft argues.

He recommends a plan be introduced in cases where a job needs doing but is not being done “well enough”.

Beecroft does acknowledge in the report that abandoning unfair dismissal laws, while legally sound, would be deemed “unfair” and “politically unacceptable”.

In light of this, he has recommended a ‘Compensated No Fault Dismissal’ in which an employee could be sacked for no particular reason but compensated by basic redundancy pay and notice.

The downside of the proposal, Beecroft writes, is that some people could find themselves being dismissed simply because their employer “did not like them”.

But he believes “this is a price worth paying”.

Do you agree with Beecroft’s recommendations? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Yes yes yes! It is the very cause of the problems in the public sector. The public sector is the very industry which requires dedicated, passionate people of a certain mindset to deliver the services which are considered to be essential to the communities they serve but “namby-pamby”, “politically correct” employment law has seen the public sector become an attractive place to the lazy and apathetic who are often given an exaggerated salary. I dislike a number of my staff on both a professional and personal level because of their general attitude toward life and others in society and given how this is directly linked to the quality of work they produce I feel it’s ample reason enough to shed the dead wood. People are hired quickly by interim consultants who leave a week after recruiting and then it’s those of us the job falls to, to suffer with inept, lazy, ineffectual, apathetic staff whom to get rid of or “train up” (how can I send my 50-year old administrator on an alphanumeric course? I know she’s not illiterate but she plays the fool exceptionally well) is such an onerous, drawn-out task (preparing case, collating evidence, HR meetings and ETs etc etc) that I myself would be off for six months with stress probably after the first month! Speak to any HR advisor and they’ll tell you that formulating a case for dismissal on the grounds of performance or even competence could easily take years! I too have a full time job to do. It’s much easier for me to just fix their mistakes when I find them, not give them any work which is too demanding or important and stay off my soapbox regarding their £20k salary. With open arms I receive the idea of making it easier to whittle out the dead wood. Maybe then we could all have an NHS or local Council to be proud of?” – Dean, Brighton

“This is a step back into the dark ages when slave labour was common in the wool mills of Britain at the start of the industrial revolution. It would be an excellent way for the any government to lose support in the country as a whole. To the general populace it would be one step to far” – Mr P Eden, Sutton Coldfield

“So economic growth and the well being of British citizens depends on being able to sack people for harsh and superficial reasons? These laws were put in place to protect people from unfair business practises and only effect employees of two or more years. Only dedicated staff are protected by them – staff belong to the company and are the company – not the boss” – John, Manxland

“Don’t you think requiring ‘real’ names is counter productive given the nature of the article? One interpretation of what is going on here is that there is a proposal which if implemented would allow employers to victimise anyone they don’t like. Also giving real names allows those who want to identify ‘trouble makers’ to do so, and if the proposal becomes fact they could then be targeted” – Gerald Synopsis, Somewhere in England

“No, employers just need to pull their fingers out and implement proper performance review processes so that poor performers can be made aware of the problem and if necessary dismissed after due process, not on the whim of someone probably ignorant of the reality of the problem/non-problem” – Ron Larham, Hampshire