Jo Swinson is a Lib Dem Business Minister who is also an equalities minister. Unlike most politicians she has actually worked in the private sector – as a PR person for a local radio station before becoming an MP at the age of 25. Based on that vast experience of the needs of business she has come up with a cunning wheeze to make life ever more miserable for employers with yet more red tape. Just what the company doctor ordered. And it seems that this is coalition policy. Were the leader of the Conservative Party someone whose Dad ran a corner store and whose husband ran a series of companies rather than a pampered suit who did a brief stint in PR before becoming a professional politician, Swinson would be told where to stick her daft plans but that was before Call Me Dave made his party a “nice” party.
If Swinson gets her way, from next year all employees (not just those with kids) will be able to request the right to work flexible hours and cannot be denied unless the employer can show a clear business need. The silly woman wants employees to be able to request flexi time to avoid the rush hour commute. Or if they have a hobby that takes place during business hours.
What is the difference between “a clear business need” and just “mildly inconvenient” for the employer? I do not know. We shall wait for the first industrial tribunal for constructive dismissal to find out. And why the hell should employers suffer any inconvenience at all because someone does not like having to fight for a seat on the 6.42 or because they want to do a spot of afternoon cottaging or whippet racing?
A business is there to make money. It offers workers a job. It creates wealth which funds the profligacy of Government. If those it offers work to do not like commuting or wish to have the afternoon off to pursue a hobby ( er… is that not what weekends are for?) they can always move house or job. If an employer wishes to make an arrangement with an employee that is its call but as soon as you bring State sanction into the matter you create an additional administrative burden on an employer and thus reduce its efficiency. And in the end that means fewer jobs. And less tax revenue for Call Me Dave to piss away on one of his cash for kleptocrats foreign aid programmes.
The piece de resistance from Swinson and her colleagues is that these new proposals are to be tried out in the public sector first so that they can show the private sector the way forward. God help us. The idea that I am going to learn how to make my business more efficient ( and thus be able to employ more folks, make more profits to pay tax on, etc) by following an example set by Hackney Council or the biased BBC just defies belief.
And this is from a Government that promised ( as they all do) a “bonfire of red tape.”