Let me state something very clearly, HR people do not like new legislation. Why do I say this? Because of a wonderful statement issued by the Institute of Directors Director General, Miles Templeman,
“The HR lobby is the biggest vested interest of all when it comes to the subject of employment law. When governments create complex regulation, employers are forced to increase their HR budgets to ensure compliance”
Really? As someone who has worked through the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, the Data Protection Act, the National Minimum Wage, the Fixed term Workers Regulations (to name but a few) and is currently struggling with the Agency Workers Regulations am I really enthused and excited about new legislation?
And if I spoke to my peers and contacts they would probably say the same. So why would Templeman say that? Because the CIPD had the temerity to suggest that productivity shortfalls in the UK economy, might not be due to “red tape” but might actually be due to,
“relatively low rates of capital investment, long-standing deficiencies in the supply and quality of work-related skills, poor management of available skills in the workplace”
If the IoD calling anyone else a “vested interest” group in itself wasn’t ironic, the thing is that HR people are probably the LEAST likely to want new legislation. And the CIPD aren’t suggesting in any shape or form that there should be more. Instead they seem to be arguing that the problems might lie elsewhere – which sounds like a sensible conversation to have, whether you agree or not. And given that Templeman is a board member of Young Enterprise, you would have thought that he might have some sympathy.
Legislation isn’t introduced because people are already compliant. The Minimum Wage was introduced because people were being paid ridiculously low hourly rates, the Working Time Directive was introduced to give employees some protection against excessive working hours. I could go on. What we really need to do is have a sensible debate about how to improve the UK economic performance AND improve social justice, free from sound bite and dogma. And that is going to take a whole lot more than chucking out the rule book.
Funny thing is, the IoD know that………..they just have a vested interest.