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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

06 SEP 2012

New EU employment rules could stifle UK attempts to cut red tape


The UK is presently trying hard to revamp employment law and remove the "red tape" which surrounds businesses.  However, under draft EU proposals, businesses planning job cuts will have to measure the "psychosocial health" of staff. This will essentially mean that it will be mandatory for businesses planning on making job cuts to measure how happy their staff are before and after redundancies and then help those worse affected into new jobs.

If there is a significant deterioration in workers' mental health and well-being, it seems that companies will be forced to offer retraining, coaching on interview technique and general help with finding a new job as a compromise for making the redundancies. Under the proposals companies will also have to formally assess and report on how their proposed redundancies will impact on the local community. This includes putting forward proposals as to how they would attempt to regenerate the area if the jobs cuts would mean many local people were out of work.

In reality how easy will it be to measure the happiness of staff? People show emotions in different ways and it may be difficult to gauge the "worse affected". Furthermore, given the current economic climate is it really sensible to increase the restrictions on businesses?  No doubt companies will face increased costs in attempting to comply with these proposals.

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