Accelerator: Red Tape Bonfire

Article excerpt

EMPLOYMENT LEGISLATION: Yet more of it was introduced in April with the burden, as ever, on employers to comply with an even stricter regime.

There's now a duty under the gender equality rules for bosses to identify specific goals. The new law instructs them to publish their goals, to monitor them and review them every three years. Until April, the right to request flexible working was linked only to childcare. Now it has been extended to an estimated 2.7m carers, who may be looking after parents, spouses or partners. And there's a further extension of maternity rights. In respect of babies born after 1 April 2007, there's an increase in maternity and adoption pay, and even longer maternity leave, irrespective of length of service. Employers are now able to keep in touch with employees on maternity leave, but these new parents can now work up to 10 'keeping in touch days'. Enough is enough, says Mr Angry Aziz.

It never ends. Small businesses could be forgiven for thinking they are living a permanent nightmare of ever-burgeoning employment legislation. Just when you thought it was safe to open one eye, yet more regulations are piled on your head.

Consider the latest welter of laws to hit the statute book. It's more of the same, and all part of the brand of New Labour stealth socialism that we've been subjected to over the past 10 years - the policy that goes hand-in-hand with stealth taxation. These politicians who steal your money through taxation to bribe their miserable supporters know that employers are a soft touch when it comes to using their precious resources - which should be deployed to create more wealth - to prop up people who ought to be taking more responsibility for themselves.

Let's look at this gender-equality issue first. Employers know that good people are hard to find. They want the right person for the job and abandoned years ago the antediluvian thinking that certain activities are 'women's work' and that 'this is a job that only a man can do'. Although some of that thinking might have had traction in the days of heavy industrial work such as mining, in today's knowledge-driven workplace, gender equality is almost built in. …