After a Tory victory? Business as usual for HR

A couple of weeks ago HR Magazine reported that the Tories were the most popular party among HR directors. This is not really surprising. The clue is in the second word. HR directors are, after all, directors and directors tend to be a lot richer than the vast majority of voters. As a general rule, rich people vote Conservative.

However, no-one really likes saying that they vote Tory just because they are loaded so the HR directors cited onerous employment laws as major factor in their voting preferences. The assumption is that the Conservatives would repeal much of this legislation, simplifying the laws for employers.

Alas, there is absolutely no evidence that this will happen. A quick glance at the business section of the Tory manifesto reveals very little. There is the usual stuff about reducing red-tape but every new government I can remember has banged on about this: “Reduce the burden on business, slash red-tape, bonfire of regulations, blah blah, yaggy daggy…………….” It never happens because one person’s burdensome regulation is another’s essential protection. It’s never as easy to scrap it as politicians like to pretend.

Employment lawyer Olivia Sinfield at PJH Law had a look at the Tory manifesto and found very little, apart from a few vague promises on parental leave and flexible working.

It is very unlikely that the Conservatives will make major changes to employment law. As John Charlton at Business Week remarked:

[I]t’s all very well HR directors crying into their energy drinks about too much employment law but the fact is that it’s very rare for incoming governments to pass legislation that removes previous acts from the statute book. The tendency is to develop or amend existing legislation rather than scrap it altogether. 

Any HR directors who thought that employment law would be simplified and or rolled back is clearly bonkers. Parliament is a playground for lawyers and playtime for them means more laws for the rest of us.

Unless there is a major upset, David Cameron will be the next Prime Minister, either with a minority government or a small majority. Whatever employers and HR professionals might have hoped, this will make very little difference to employment law.

Sorry folks, if you thought David Cameron would make your job easier you were wrong. It will be business as usual next week. Reach for that Croner’s guide one more time.

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