New EU proposals could make it harder for companies to make employees redundant

19-09-2012 09:06

Companies initiating staff cuts could be asked to measure the 'happiness' of their staff before and after the redundancy stage under new proposals being considered by the EU.

Alejandro Cercas, a Spanish MEP, argues businesses should understand the 'psychosocial health' of their employees before they make them redundant. For example, if there is a significant decline in a employee's mental health, a company would be require to provide a new training regime, interview advice and additional assistance to ease the person's transition into future employment.

EU proposals at odds with UK plans

In response to these proposals, the head of employment policy for the EEF (the UK's manufacturer's body), Tim Thomas, has argued that EU employment law is already making it harder for companies to make people redundant, which is why the UK is committed to overhauling many of these regulations.

Many Government figures argue that such proposals, if enshrined into EU law, would add yet more bureaucracy into the complicated redundancy process. Companies would be obliged to consider the impact of job cuts on the local communities and the effect on local unemployment. Furthermore, employers would also be required to negotiate with trade unions before cutting staff, adding more red tape to what is already a highly complex procedure.

Coalition aims to cut much of the red tap surrounding EU employment law

In sharp contrast to what the EU is proposing, the UK coalition Government is considering introducing a 'no-fault dismissal' process, which would allow companies to sack their staff with no right to a tribunal claim, provided they offered a reasonable pay-out. Christopher Mordue from Pinsent Masons argued that the EU's proposals were 'impractical' and would add more 'red tape burdens' for employers. Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary, also criticised Brussels and said the UK would 'roll back' much of the EU employment law regulations. He also issued stern criticism of the recent holiday leave pay for sick workers in a Daily Telegraph article.


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