Duncan Lewis

Shepherds Bush Office

provide over 3000 matter starts in

Immigrating , Family and Housing

Employment lawyers have reacted in disbelief over the proposed rights for share scheme

Date: (10 October 2012)    |    

Total Comments: (0)    |    Add Comments

An employment lawyer from a leading employment law firm whilst welcoming the moves to encourage employee engagement and commitment to businesses questioned the bizarre package of signing away rights to claim unfair dismissal, flexible working, training and maternity leave.
He said that it strikes to him as if the scheme was not for helping to encourage employment engagement and productivity but making the removing of employment rights more palatable.
The “headline-grabbing” scheme was not too different from shared-ownership and shared-option schemes.
But he added that the rights which were being sought to be waived as part of the deal were protected in the primary statutory law and that it would need a significant change in legislation to enable such agreements to become legal.
He said currently there was no reference to how this could be done. There was a very slim chance for this to become legislation by April 2013.
The whole point seemed like it was to make hiring and firing easier. But with a system with a combination of complicated shareholding agreements and tax breaks, smaller businesses were not going to do this as it was not worth the time and trouble or indeed the cost he added.
The Chancellor unveiled the plan for workers to give up a string of employment rights in return for shares in their employer worth up to £50,000. Staff would not pay capital gains tax on profits from the shares.
It would be fine in a good economy, but that many companies were not recording profits and that was not common for smaller single-shareholder or family businesses to give away a slice of their ownership.
Virtual Law employment specialist said “innumerable complexities” with the scheme made an April 2013 implementation “inconceivable”.
She said as an employment lawyer she could see an enormous correlation between women becoming pregnant and selected for dismissal. Women continue to need that protection and it was evident that any suggestion of removing maternity rights was being open to a judicial review.
She added that she could see that it was not an attractive proposal for either employers or employees. Notionally, it may look like a good idea, but she for one wouldn’t trade the security of an unfair dismissal claim and other employment rights unless she felt very confident about her employer and very confident of her position in organisation.
And if it’s too costly and complex for small and medium businesses, they are more likely to take their chances with the burden of possible unfair dismissal claims. She said it sounded like a crowd pleasing announcement which had not been thought through.