Small businesses swamped by employment legislation


Small businesses are suffering from stress and pressure caused by employment legislation, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed.

Employers are struggling to cope with all the red tape, due to the complex nature of the legislation and a lack of impartial government advice, the organisation said.

The federation's legal helpline for small businesses receives an average of 240 calls a day from employers struggling with employment law, with age and religious discrimination queries both seeing recent large increases in volume.

Recent increases in rights for part-time workers has also led to a rise in queries regarding part-time workers, and has led to them becoming a less attractive option for employers, the organisation revealed.

While small companies accept that legal protection is needed for employees, they object to the complicated nature of the legislation and are afraid of raising queries with regulators in case it leads to an aggressive official enquiry.

"Employment law is so hard for small businesses to cope with," said Dr Murray Fairclough, managing director at Abbey Legal Services, which assists in the running of the FSB helpline.

"Small firms already spend an average of 28 hours a month filling in forms. This is a disincentive to employ people, built in to the sheer weight and complexity of employment law, and it is a threat to the UK economy."

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