New laws will shake up way HR operates

Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article New laws will shake up way HR operatesOn 8 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Companies face a massiveculture change in how they deal with staff following publication of governmentproposals on two vital pieces of employment legislation.First, the Government hasoutlined plans for implementing the Information and Consultation Directive(ICD) that will encourage employers to consult at an earlier stage and in moredetail, on all issues affecting employees. These include job security, termsand conditions of employment, restructuring, plans to sell, and any businessstrategy, which might directly impact on people in the workplace.Many may balk at this, butthe reality is that it is in the employers’ interests to play ball. Firms thattake the initiative will be able to set their own agendas and introduceconsultation arrangements that suit them.If they don’t, they riskhaving work councils imposed upon them. Under the proposals, employers willhave to introduce information and consultation arrangements if just 10 per centof the workforce request them. If a voluntary agreement cannot be reached,firms risk being forced to create a works council and will then face rigidconsultation requirements.The second and just assignificant announcement by the DTI regarded plans to introduce legislationoutlawing age discrimination at work.Employers will have to reviewall HR policies to ensure they don’t purposely or inadvertently discriminateagainst older staff. This will protect them from discrimination claims, butjust as important, it will help them become employers of choice for older staff.Organisations that struggle to recruit and retain older staff will also battleto compete.Both pieces of legislationpresent the HR profession with a significant challenge that must be taken upnow, even though the ICD does not become law until 2005 and age discriminationuntil 2006.New policies and focusedtraining will have to be developed months in advance if organisations are goingto stand any chance of being prepared for the new laws.Firms need to begin educatingand preparing their senior and line managers for both these landmark changesright now.By Penny Wilson, deputy editor ofPersonnel Today read more