It gets better. Look at what it says about Switzerland, the most competitive economy in the world:
Employment contracts are subject to the Swiss law of obligation. About half the working population are subject to standard contracts drawn up by either the canton governments or a professional body. It is also normal for contracts to refer to the organisation’s standard statement of employment conditions. Probationary periods may operate for up to three months, after which dismissal is normally only lawful for either gross misconduct or serious economic reasons. A long-standing limitation exists on Sunday working, for which a special permit is required from the canton authorities.
If Luke Johnson foams at the mouth about the UK’s meagre employment protection, imagine what he’d do if he was faced with something like this. Almost watertight protection after three months and government permits required for Sunday working? He’d be apoplectic!
Yet none of these restrictions seem to stop these countries being economically competitive. Have a look at the legal frameworks of other European countries in the top ten. Do you think managers have an easier job in any of these places? If they do, it’s not because their employment law is less complex.
There have been a number of polemics railing against employment protection over the last week or so but they all feature the politics of I Met A Man. Employment Law is killing business because I know someone who is pissed off with it.
All this proves is that a lot of business people get frustrated by regulation, which we knew anyway. No-one has shown just how and by how much employment protection acts as a drag on the economy. Nor has anyone adequately explained why countries with a lot more employment protection manage to be more competitive and have higher growth rates than the UK.
Government imposed contracts, legally backed collective agreements, civil codes and tripartite structures would all be loathed by most of our business leaders and politicians, yet they don’t stop other economies from growing and being competitive. We haven’t got any of this stuff so what’s our excuse?