A human resources (HR) expert is warning employers to be aware of changes to employment law after this week’s general-election.
Steve Cook, chief executive of HR firm Empire, which has offices in Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow, said all of the parties planned changes which could have a detrimental affect on businesses.
One policy which has been hotly debated is the minimum wage, Mr Cook said, adding: “The Conservatives want to increase it to £8 by the end of 2020, Labour want £8 by 2019 and the SNP want to see £8.70 by 2020.
“A rise in minimum wage is of course advantageous to employees, but smaller businesses with tight budgets may feel less likely to take on workers at the bottom of the ladder if costs become prohibitive.”
Changes to zero hours contracts have also been debated in recent months, with Labour leader Ed Miliband criticising the “epidemic” of such arrangements.
But Mr Cook believes businesses need flexible contracts.
He said: “Smaller businesses, in particular, which have unpredictable or seasonal demand need the flexibility of zero hours contracts. Many workers are happy with that agreement.
“Addressing abuse in zero hours contracts is important but preventing flexibility in employment contracts will be detrimental to employers and workers alike”.
Any move to withdraw the UK from the European Union would have a huge impact on employers, Mr Cook said, adding: “Most of our employment laws are based on EU directives. Withdrawal would create severe challenges around the implementation of our existing laws.”
The right to strike, paternity leave and recruitment are other areas facing change.
Mr Cook said: “Employment law has not been at the top of the agenda at the leaders’ debates but employers should be watching the outcome with interest.”