[personal profile] palmer1984
Firms get power to sack the slackers.

Argh. A lot of the time the people who need protection at work are people who are precariously employed - temps and people who end up working a lot of fixed term contracts. This legislation means that they are even more unlikely to reach a stage where their rights are protected.

Even if this legislation does increase employment (and AFAICT the evidence that it will is very sketchy), the costs to individuals and to society of increased job insecurity have to be taken into account.

Date: 2011-01-10 06:35 pm (UTC)
reddragdiva: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reddragdiva
You'd think the Tories were in power ...

Date: 2011-01-10 06:45 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I have no problem with people being sackable. But they should absolutely be able to claim that they were sacked for improper reasons. Removing that just makes people incredibly exploitable.

Date: 2011-01-10 08:26 pm (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
That's the things, they already *are* sackable. People can still be dismissed for reasons of competence, and they are. The only reason to introduce such policies, as far as I can see, is to keep employees in terror of sackings at all times.

Date: 2011-01-10 08:56 pm (UTC)
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
From: [personal profile] wildeabandon
It is quite difficult to sack someone for reasons of competence - ime it takes about six months, which is a)expensive, and b)means you can't actually hire someone else to actually do the job that isn't being done (or some poor PA gets roped into doing it in addition to their normal role whilst not getting paid nearly as much as the incompetent person. What, me, bitter? Never!).

What's being proposed clearly isn't the solution though - I entirely agree with your comment below.

Date: 2011-01-11 01:38 am (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
It depends what they're incompetent at and how, though. Certain big fuck-ups can be grounds for instant dismissal. With lower level stuff, that's the point of performance reviews and such; most organisations have their 'probation period', which ought the mean they're actually testing the employee's competence during that time, which is presumably not found wanting at the end, or they get their probation extended (has happened to a couple of people I've know). Ideally, checking the person's basic competence should be part of the front-loading bit, and usually is.

For less obvious stuff, I think it's right that it SHOULD be a slow procedure to be investigated; dismissal should be a last resort, and trying other options takes times, as it should. The logistics are far from ideal, but organisations with ore disposable income can choose to hire temps during that period to help with extra workload...

Date: 2011-01-11 01:41 am (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
(For example: I have every sympathy with an employer who wants to dismiss an employee immediately for quite a lot of things which would fall under gross misconduct - I would not wish to see the right of the employer to dismiss for GN curtailed too much, as that would be very unfair to them. But since it's pretty much the opposite on the cards, doesn't seem to be much danger of that...)

Date: 2011-01-10 08:25 pm (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
I don't see how it's even going to increase employment though. Just because small businesses *claim* they can't hire as many people as they want because of evil evil employment legislation meaning they can't sack people for being female disabled 'lazy' doesn't make it true.

It's utter bullshit. It does bugger-all for the economy, it just enriches employers at the employees' expense.

It's laughable; if the employment tribunals ever reflected the amount of workers who actually hav cause to use them, they'd be at least 10x as busy as they are now. From my perspective, it's not employees who are the problem.

Date: 2011-01-10 09:04 pm (UTC)
barakta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] barakta
This. I'm disgusted, as ever with this sodding government.

Don't have the spoons or energy to complain to any of them either.

Date: 2011-01-11 01:39 am (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
I was disgusted with the last government too. I think disgust has become an intrinsic part of how we do politics in this country.

Date: 2011-01-13 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.ex-parrot.com/~pete/id/config.php
I'm a small business owner, I've just hired someone. I certainly put off the hiring decision for as long as possible because the first piece of advice every small business owner will give you is don't hire anyone unless you can possibly avoid it. The next piece of advice is outsource all of your HR to a bunch of lawyers who make all your procedures legal and indemnify you against claims. That's five grand I'd rather not have spent to be honest. I've been told to expect 3-6 months salary as the cost of getting rid of someone who's not very good, which means we need to have a substantial cash buffer to cope with that case.

If behaving like a reasonable person instead worked as a defensive strategy I'd have much preferred to do that however the overriding advice is that opens you up to potential bankruptcy.

It is true that not employing someone did enrich me, unfortunately it did require frequently working 80 hour weeks so I could automate away jobs I would otherwise have created although this is beneficial in the long term because computers are cheaper than staff.

That said, I don't think the governments proposed solution is very good, just cancelling all employment protection for an extra year is a pretty crap way of improving the situation compared to solving the issues, although it is easier to legislate.

Date: 2011-01-13 01:04 pm (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
The next piece of advice is outsource all of your HR to a bunch of lawyers who make all your procedures legal and indemnify you against claims.

That's terrible advice; no matter how good your procedures, you can't be indemnified against *everything*. That said, good policies should mean that if an employee does go off on a jolly of their own and eg decides to be racist, the business can show they've had policies in place to tackle it.

IME, most employers get things wrong because they've never learnt about employment law. This is a systemic issue of education as far as I'm concerned, and in the same way that there's not enough state support to educate the individual about their legal rights and responsibilities, there's not enough education for employers or landlords either. This is likely to get worse, not better, with the proposed solutions, which are frankly dreadful . This is an excellent article about what the cuts to Legal Aid are going to cost the state.

Date: 2011-01-13 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.ex-parrot.com/~pete/id/config.php
If we lose a case, the employment lawyers pay the damages provided we've followed their guidance. People who recommended the outsourced HR approach included both small and medium business owners and employment lawyers (rather than their own services).

I'm sure I don't know enough about employment law but I really don't have enough time to learn because it's a sodding nightmare - consequently I outsourced it to someone who does know about it. Similarly I outsourced accounting because I know sod all about that. Generally I hope that by behaving reasonably it should all go fine without resorting to lawyers.

My worry is the outsourced lawyers may have difficulty in not behaving like litigious bastards when we want to be nice. This is largely because they spent quite a lot of their time successfully defending cases against no win no fee lawyers on employment tribunals.

Largely my position is simple, if the employee is generating enough income to cover their costs and some surplus it's all fine. If not the end result is I'll lose my job in addition to them losing theirs so I need to take action earlier rather than later.

How would you suggest employing people without outsourcing most of it? I clearly can't write the contract myself, nor the IP agreement, probably not the standard company procedures, nor the payroll etc. Answers that consist of consuming more than a few hours of time aren't helpful. I'm employing someone precisely because I've run out of time, and employing someone to do my job while I learn how to become a HR professional is sillier than just not employing them in the first place.

Date: 2011-01-13 03:00 pm (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
I really don't have enough time to learn because it's a sodding nightmare

This is one of those obfuscating exaggerations that keeps lawyers in business! It's actually not that difficult at all, except for a few specific things like TUPE. In my opinion (and I'm not humble about this at all) lack of legal education is an endemic problem for everyone, and it's something which ought to be tackled at a basic level eg with schoolchildren in citizenship classes. This is the kind of stuff that's useful for *everyone* to know (and HR people usually know cock-all about it, IME) and I firmly believe it should be part of basic statecraft to educate the populace about the state's laws - unless, of course, you're trying to keep them supine.

There are sources of free information out there, YouGov being a good example, but in the current political climate, there's going to be less information around, not more. I suggest political activism to commit the state to providing legal education and information for all.

Date: 2011-01-13 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.ex-parrot.com/~pete/id/config.php
Isn't it basic economics? I've spent ~ £5k (a tax deductible expense) over five years. That's about two to three weeks of consultancy. In exchange I've picked up a contract, a set of procedures, a staff handbook, a 24/7 helpline, insurance, a service that notifies me of legal changes and will automatically update my contracts in the event of them.

Now I'm pretty certain I can't do all of that in two weeks even if I wanted to. So it's a no brainer to get someone else to do it for me.

The other solution is to make everyone self employed or a contractor, which is the solution two or three other friends of mine who run small companies took.

Date: 2011-01-19 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pjc50.livejournal.com
It can't be fixed by educating schoolchildren because the law isn't fixed, there's a continuous stream of changes. Operating on a stale legal basis can be disastrous, and keeping up with updates consumes time. So it makes sense to outsource the effort of keeping up and getting it right to professionals, rather like the difference between installing anti-virus software versus trying to patch all your software manually.

Do not underestimate the value of outsourcing it to professionals for the sake of sleeping right. The employer's calculation goes from "if I have misinterpreted this web page on employment law, my work of the past few years will be destroyed leaving me bankrupt" to "I've hired people who do this sort of thing for a living, have qualifications and indemnity insurance".

Recently the "Part P" regulations mean that people can't rewire their own homes without either professional certification or approval from building regulations inspectors. I'm almost suprised there isn't similar legislation forcing people to outsource their employment procedures; it would probably improve the lot of many people working in family businesses. The downside would be the extinction of lots of small farms and corner shops.

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palmer1984

January 2011

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