Protected rights for workers facing redundancy or transfers between employers could be weakened in a government review of employment law.
Possible changes to Transfer Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (Tupe) could affect social care workers transferring from councils to the private and voluntary sectors.
The government also wants to reform collective redundancy rules, which require employers to give staff at least 90 days to consult trade unions.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the regulations offered important protections “but some businesses believe that they are gold-plated and overly bureaucratic”.
It added that the rules on redundancy were hindering employers’ “ability to restructure efficiently and retain a flexible workforce”.
Ministers also plan to reform procedures for giving workers compensation following employment tribunals. It will start reviewing these areas in detail later this year.
Employment relations minister Edward Davey said: “The areas we are reviewing are priorities for employers. We want to make it easier for businesses to take on staff and grow.
“We will be looking carefully at the arguments for reform. Fairness for individuals will not be compromised – but where we can make legislation easier to understand, improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy we will.”
Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey described the plans as “a further onslaught on working people”.
“Where exactly is the job creation dividend to be garnered from dismantling Tupe?” he asked. “These regulations offer only slender protection on pay as it is – they can do nothing to protect a worker’s pension during takeover, but they can help to retain much-needed standards in the workplace.”
Social care workers moving to social enterprises and other parts of the private and voluntary sectors already face less generous superannuation after chancellor George Osborne accepted the recommendations of Lord Hutton’s review of public sector pensions. Under this, social care workers who work outside local government would no longer be eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme.
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