Moratorium urged on new employment law

The UK's smallest firms find it difficult to cope with the demands of employment law, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said, prompting a call for a three-year moratorium on new legislation.

Research carried out by the BCC found that almost half of small employers claimed they experienced problems navigating the mass of different employment regulations.

The BCC's workforce survey polled 3,400 firms across the UK.

As well as identifying employment law as a significant administrative burden to small businesses, the survey revealed that a quarter of businesses employ migrant labour because there is often a shortage of suitable local candidates with the required skills and experience.

A half of respondents said that they have not recruited in the last six months, while a quarter are not planning to fill positions that become vacant when an employee leaves.

The study showed that the vast majority of employers have embraced flexible working, with 84 per cent of flexible working requests being agreed by firms.

David Frost, the BCC's director general, said: "Too often the government sees the answer to a problem as being more legislation. Not least in the area of employment law. The result of this will mean that it will take longer to get out of recession and companies will be loath to take on more employees.

"If we are really serious about helping businesses, about creating jobs, why not have a complete moratorium on new employment legislation for the next three years?"