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Is taking on employees getting easier?

Of all the issues occupying the government at present, getting more people employed is right at the top of the list. Find out what they're doing to make employing someone simpler.

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Of all the issues occupying the government at present, getting more people employed is right at the top of the list. There has been an almighty push to make the process easier and cheaper since they came to power. Though, as often is the case, different departmental policy agendas have served to undermine one another at times, the work done around employment law, employment incentives, business advice and skills should be making the process easier. However, a recent snap poll conducted by the Forum of Private Business suggested that 3 out of 4 businesses do not think the coalition government has made the process any easier and that employment law and cost are the primary areas that prevent further employment. On Monday 15th April, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a 'Taking on an employee' toolkit, an ACAS step-by-step guide that takes employers through the process of hiring their first member of staff and explains their core legal obligations when doing so. Whilst this helpful business advice tackles the fears of sole traders looking to employ, it doesn't address the cost issues of those that already employ, but cannot afford, or fear they will not be able to sustain, new employees in the current climate. Here, the government offered a direct cash incentive in the Budget. Termed the Employment Allowance, from April 2014 the first £2,000 of employer national insurance contributions will be refunded, or discounted, in the hope this encourages businesses to take on one or more members of staff. This is off the back of other wage incentives out there, through the work programme and the Youth Contract. There is also an overhaul of the skills system taking place, highlighted here. The final area of work is around employment law, with a review of all workplace regulations. The recent business-friendly changes to dismissal and the upcoming changes to the cost of tribunals for claimants together might support further employment. The changes can never take the awkwardness away from workplace disputes, but they could work to try and curb the fears they create for employers over tribunal costs. So all in all, the government is trying to make the recruitment process easier in a number of ways. We hope members will start to see the benefits of these over the coming months – let us know what you think. If you need any help recruiting or managing employees, call us now on 0845 130 1722. Advanced members have unlimited access to a HR helpline.

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