Ill-thought out owner-employee contracts will not appeal to employers or their staff
The Government's plans to introduce 'owner-employee contracts' were unveiled, unheralded, in George Osborne's after dinner speech at the Conservative Party conference in October 2012. They were debated in the House of Lords on 22 April 2013 and rejected by 69 votes – an even larger number than when they were previously rejected by the Lords in March. The Government then proposed a set of amendments, by way of concession, and, on 24 April, the House of Lords voted in favour, paving the way for the proposals to become law on 1 September 2013. The owner-employee contract proposal (renamed employee shareholders, as a Government concession) is contained within the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, and its aim is to allow businesses to award shares worth between £2,000 and £50,000 to their staff. In return, the employee would give up certain rights, including unfair dismissal, training rights and the right to ask for flexible working. These contracts would be optional for existing employees, but businesses will be able to choose to offer only this type of contract to new recruits.
This initiative is more about removing employment rights than boosting business growth, says Tom Flanagan
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