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This is an excellent idea but I think you should reconsider limiting it to headcount.

Many businesses that employ more than the 20 suggested are on tight margins, whereas some with less operate on huge margins.

I would think that it would be easier to police on turnover as well (considering the effect of seasonality on many small businesses), with a gradualist appoach where a company has to have two or three years of the qualifying turnover before becoming responsible for implementing the relevant legislation.

Yet Another Anon

I work in the public sector. I am in a trade union. If I go on strike because my health and safety is threatened by poor conditions or my pay is cut by a below inflation pay rise I should be able to strike without being put on trial for treason.
These are matters of policy decided by an elected government though, in addition surely it is illogical for the state to tolerate what is action against it directly by it's own employees, police and the armed forces and Intelligence Services aren't allowed to strike so why should anyone else be?


Oh for God's sake. This is meant to be "100 election-winning policies". We will be utterly crucified for this if it ever becomes policy. "Tories want all employee protection removed from people working in relatively small business". For goodness sake people - what are you thinking of? This is utterly stupid politics.

Yet Another Anon

It's inconsistent if it's just small business and it will lead to bizarre variations in very similar companies - a company with one more person will be subject, isn't this a risk if it only applies to companies with less than a certain number of employees that they will avoid taking on more employees to avoid the regulation - I'm inclined to think that either it applies to all sizes of company or none at all.

David Cooper

Thanks for the further ideas.

Jack: my idea is based upon the principle that there is a perceived beneficial purpose behind modifying this particular civil legislation burden, namely to help small aspiring wealth creators. I’m not sure if a comparison with penalties for regulatory offences helps.

Peregrine: what you suggest could certainly be worth a look in the medium term. I was perhaps more influenced by the fact that it would be easier to prove a headcount qualification in a live tribunal case than a turnover qualification which might call for a more prolonged public examination of commercially sensitive accounts.

Jake: some of my specific suggestions to help small business were to cap damages awards, restore the qualifying period to pre-NuLab duration, and spare the need to leap through countless hoops before dismissing someone. I don’t think it’s fair to sum that up as removing all employee protection.

YAA: yes, in principle I agree with you that much wider deregulation is desirable. I did anticipate the thought of exceeding the headcount threshold, and in practice this would ideally be coinciding with the small business having grown so successfully as to be able to cope with the increased financial risk and compliance costs.

Tory Solicitor

This policy gets my vote. I also think modest proposals stand more chance of success and implementation, just as Nigel Lawson liked to get rid of one tax at every budget.

Alex Scattergood

Perhaps limiting compensation to actual loss , maybe with reference to victim of crimes compensation and encouraging employment tribunals to be slightly more objective would be a better policy?

There should also be a cap on the compensation and the miffed city dealers can sue the company in a civil court after an employment tribunal ruling.

I have seen a number of fellow employees go to tribunals and win where outwardly there seemed no reason for anyone in their right mind to continue employing them.

Normally the wins were over a minor technicality and the payouts were not in proportion to loss or worth. Or the companies folded in advance of the hearing and paid out £20K tax free because that was a lot less than lawyers fees.

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