The CIPD has urged the government to simplify employment law after a survey revealed that it is the biggest headache facing HR departments.
A massive 74 per cent of HR professionals believe that employment legislation is unclear and nearly 50 per cent think that there is not enough guidance.
CIPD director general Geoff Armstrong said: “Government departments should give more consideration to alternatives to state regulation to meet employment policy objectives and reduce the pressures on business, without reducing minimum standards for employees.
“This may give respite to people management specialists who report disillusionment in particular with the volume and clarity of laws across the field of employment.”
Twenty-eight per cent of respondents pinpointed the Working Time Directive as the most difficult piece of legislation facing HR. A similar number said that recruitment and retention was the biggest issue for employers.
Armstrong said: “Too often regulations are ‘boiler-plated’ so that a desired principle of protection is introduced in such a complex way, without proper consultation on the practicalities of applying it, that employers can’t understand them.”
The burden on HR professionals is likely to increase in the future however.
The Employment Agencies Act could become legislation within the next 12 months and the first draft of the Agency Workers’ Directive, A Brussels’ initiative, has been on the table since March this year.
Additionally, a raft of anti-ageism legislation is expected to be in place by 2006.
Armstrong added: “Each new regulation should be looked at in relation to al the others that have preceded it.
"Coherent regulation that can be communicate simply, understood and applied has to be the aim.”