Ronnie Fox is quite right to say that Law Society specialist committees should be wary of being drawn into party politics. The employment law committee does not take sides in the employment relationship, acknowledging that the Society's membership comprises both employers and employees, and includes a number of the kind of micro-businesses at which much of the government's employment law reform programme is aimed.
When we offer government our advice on proposals for changes in the law, we do so with the aim of supporting ‘good law-making’. It is right, therefore, that we should comment on the evidence for and the likely consequences of proposed changes to the law from our perspective as experienced employment solicitors.
Our response to the consultation explains, in more detail than is possible in this letter, that the evidential basis for introducing compensated no-fault dismissal is based more on perception than fact. One of the identified risks in creating a two-tier system of employment law rights is that micro-businesses may be inhibited from taking on more employees if this is going to result in the threshold being reached when higher employment protection rights are triggered. This may have implications for business growth and lead to other practical problems for the overall competitiveness of micro-businesses.
What would, however, be of benefit to micro-businesses is better ‘signposting’ to the employment law information, guidance and advice that is already available.
The evidence in support of the proposals shows that what small businesses want are incentives for growth such as reductions in national insurance – but commenting on that really would be going beyond our remit as lawyers.
Angharad Harris, Watson Farley & Williams, London EC2