Recent survey evidence commissioned by BIS has provided revealing information on the perceptions of business about employment law, highlighting the key perceived barriers to recruitment and growth, and painting an interesting picture as to the perception of employment and health and safety regulation in the UK today.

The survey suggests that 40% of employers agree or strongly agree that the demands of employment regulation put them off employing staff. Only 1% of that 40, however, say that dismissal / disciplinary action is the regulation that most puts them off employing staff. Their most serious concerns were:

  • Health and safety – 13%
  • Maternity / paternity leave – 10%
  • Tax – 8%
  • National Minimum Wage – 6%
  • National insurance – 6%
  • Employer’s liability insurance – 5%
  • Working time regulations – 5%
  • Sickness absence – 5%
  • Time off to train – 4%
  • Discrimination – 3%

The type of firm most worried about legislation was micro and SMEs, with large firms being most concerned about the right to request flexible working.

On average, 40% of SMEs agree that UK employment regulation is fair and proportionate, rising to 53% of large organisations (250+ employees). However, 35% of sole traders disagreed with this statement.

The findings come at a time when the Government is consulting on proposals that could implement no-fault dismissals for micro companies (defined as those employing fewer than ten people).