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back to article Vince Cable to cut training and flexible work rules

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills is promising to cut regulations on flexible working and training for smaller companies. The speech was originally to be given by Vince Cable but will now be read by Mark Prisk because of an emergency Cabinet meeting on Libya. Employees' right to training will be restricted at …

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Anonymous Coward

Why three years?

He'll be out of a job shortly after that.

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Bronze badge

Jeremy Hunt the Culture Secretary

I wonder what he thinks of it.

Was maternity leave brought in just so Vince could say there was something he isn't cutting? What about retirement and the state old age pension? They've decided to keep that going for another three years have they? Although without actually allowing any more people to retire because they're raising the qualifying age. (I believe I'm exaggerating and I hope so.) No more workhouses for the poor to be built until 2014 - except for the Olympic Games buildings of course.

In three years these people will more likely be hung from lamp-posts than re-elected.

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Thumb Down

Bang. There goes the rights

Get used to deregulation as rights will be reduced to match China and others.

This is only the first step.

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Anonymous Coward

I bet you were first..

To complain about living in a nanny state.

Deregulation does not mean less rights, it means more flexibility, and the right to negotiate with your company.

I for one welcome not living in a micro-managed Labour/Stazi country where the government things it's ok to interfere with every asset of your life.

If they were in power any longer, they'd have passed a law stating minimum coital time prior to climax....Maybe that's not so bad....

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FAIL

Ahh yes Vince Cable...

I remember him. Man of integrity, strength and character. He was going to sort out the Banks, Murdock, right all wrongs.

Don't know who the £uck this guy is. Whatever is coming won't be good....

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FAIL

You would have thought he'd have got something better

Faust got Helen of Troy when he sold his soul. Vince Cable just gets to be even more boring.

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Anonymous Coward

Not the best of moves

IN my experience, small businesses are likely to take a "flexible approach" to many workplace practices - eg conveniently forgetting about Display Equipment regulations until they are pointed out to them.

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Joke

decisive action

"Asked by the FT about what the progress was with Clegg's promise to extend parental leave, Cable said: "We're talking about consulting." "

or "Go away and leave me alone" to put it in English.

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Paris Hilton

Small or really small?

There some to be some issues about what makes a small company small.

For example, is a small enterprise of 10 employees small if it is an independent organisation or if it is part of a multinational with a small footprint regional office?

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yay

Less red tape is needed, do you know how hard is to sack someone? If they are incompetent an employer is currently obliged to retrain them. It doesnt matter that they may be as thick as pig shit or are unwilling to learn - its down to the employer to get them up to scratch.

Yay for the Tory's and their moderating Lib Dem lapdogs!

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Well...

Arguably, it's the employer's fault for not being capable of weeding out fuckwits at the interview process?

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You have a year*...

...from first employing someone in which you can fire them without cause. If line managers and/or HR can't figure out in that time if someone's competent to do their job or not, then maybe its them that needs to be fired instead.

*soon to be increased to two, personally I think it should be no more than six months

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Stop

250 employees?

Other than the banksters and the remains of the public sector, are there many employers left in the UK who employ more than 250 people?

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FAIL

No real news here

"Employees' right to training will be restricted at companies which employ less than 250 people."

This right has never applied to employees of companies with less than 250 people.

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Headmaster

There is no right to training just now -

just the right to ask for training, and then be refused, of course, if the employer wishes. The grounds for refusal are, in essence, that the employer can deny any potential benefits to the employer or any improved productivity from the employee. (There are some others, but these two are so wide that no employer needs to go near them.)

The regulations are not within the government's gift, either, since they're ACAS regulations, although it would be possible for the government to reinstitute bonded labour or slavery in order to cut costs.

On a constructive note, perhaps El Reg could offer some training to its staff, so that we don't have to read "less than 250 people" and "less than 10 staff". Good examples might help to keep keyboards untouched rather than forcing the likes of "Tory's" (offered as a substitute for a plural) on us too.

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WTF?

So what's actually changed?

According to direct.gov - as things stand today: "You have the right to ask for flexible working - not the right to have it. Employers can reasonably decline your application where there is a legitimate business ground".

So what's actually going to be different, and why does anything need changing?

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Anonymous Coward

Small biz needs far more help than this

my 3 person biz will go legs up if anyone takes maternity or extended sick leave. Clearly we don't make enough. I'm MD and so the lowest paid worker - just as well I'm not subject to statutory minimum or working hours directive - so long hours for little money. I'd like to just fold but haven't got the redundancy money so we'd need to go bust. Can't sell the biz in the current market conditions, price would be low but everyone's in the same boat, cant afford Bank borrowing rates to fund the purchase.

When the economy picks up we could be OK but increasingly difficult to compete with India outsourcing (I have a strong suspicion they don't have working hours directive, don't pay statutory minimum, maternity, sick, redundancy, NI, income tax, corporation tax, VAT at the same rates as us).

There are vast numbers in the same situation - SMEs account for about 60 percent of the UK workforce, and over 50 percent of GDP. Historically SMEs lead economic recovery but anyone who starts an SME and takes on employees in the current employment framework is an idiot. (The exception being those who set up in UK as a front operation to a workforce in countries more friendly to employment). Why, when we have 20% unemployment in 18-25 age group, do we choose to export low value work (and the tax revenue that generates) to lower cost economies. Surely better to do whatever is necessary to give our youngsters work experience and take them off benefits.

At the same time big biz manages to get away with massive tax avoidance and if you employ thousands you have the flexibility to cover maternity and sick absences.

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Jobs Halo

Fiddling whilst Rome burns.

Never getting to the core of the problem the Department for Industry has failed to recognise the role Government has in setting the tone of purchasing departments.

For example in financial limits:

Here is the scenario. EU regulation requires that annual turnover should be balanced against the size of order a firm can be given. Fair enough. Then Vince Cable's Department converts this to a recommendation that turnover should be four times the order value. Again maybe fair enough. but wait to see what happens next.

Purchasing organisations: Local Authorities, Government departments and Universities etc produce a marking scheme that says if four times turnover is OK then 10 times is better and 20 times is better than that to get the top marking you have to have 100 turnover.

Then we have framework contract where large numbers of small orders are put together in a framework agreement generally lasting for 4 years. These might typically contain orders between £2000 to £20,000 with a total value over 4 years of £1m. This is small business country. But in comes the marking scheme and the top marking goes to a firm with over £100m turnover. What chance do small firms have?

The final stoke is that four firms are appointed to the contract.

The problem is the apparatchiks who blindly operate these systems need more direction to give small firms a chance. Is this going to happen. Well, I can still hear fiddling; smell the smoke, Rome is burning.

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regulations

In many cases the law is not the problem - it's the requirement to document every action and non-action every step of the way which is overwhelmingly ponderous for the typical small business.

There's no doubt I break the law - or at least Regulations - every working day, as I just don't have enough waking hours to record in the prescribed form every thought and action I have.

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Anonymous Coward

bureaucrats = crooks

Just spoke to a potential customer, pigged off with his current supplier (expensive, slow to respond, despite very substantial annual retainer won't do anything without full advance payment, gives poor advice and poor product). Why did you choose them? we asked. I didn't, he said. Business Link advisor said "we are supposed to put it out to tender but nobody else is as good as this guy..." Backhanders perhaps?

Reminds me of another story. Local Enterprise agency had advised use of a one-man back bedroom operation. The back-bedroom guy charged the agency £2000, the customer paid £5000 not to the agency but to their employee by cheque written in his name. Agency had provided grant aid too. Back bedroom guy and customer subsequently spoke to each other about more work and realised both had been ripped off so advised the agency. Advisor was suspended for a while but reinstated.

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