New employment laws due to be implemented over the next four years will cost businesses in the West Midlands £1.75 billion, according to new research.
Despite a pledge from the Government to tackle the burden of red tape, which is stifling job creation and growth in the UK, the British Chambers of Commerce says a raft of new employment legislation which is set to come into force between April 2011 and April 2015.
It expects a bill of £22.87 billion across the UK – with West Midlands firms being out of pocket to the tune of £1.75 billion – over the period.
A statement from the BCC read: "With seven major changes planned for 2011 alone, the BCC is urging the Government to match its rhetoric with reality – by starting the deregulation process and scrapping costly employment laws which are a burden on business, particularly smaller firms.
"The constant threat of tinkering to employment law is detrimental to business and has to stop. For example, the Government is proposing three changes to parental leave in the next four years.
"Every change, however small, will come at a price to business and the Government must get it right first time to avoid confusion and unnecessary costs.
"The BCC welcomes the promised reform of the employment tribunal system in the UK, which is currently too slow and weighted in favour of the employee.
"But, there is no timescale for its implementation, and the potential cost savings to business are dwarfed by the cost of new employment burdens."
Some of the most costly regulations in the pipeline are:
* 2011: Right to Request Time off to Train will have an annual recurring cost to business of £174.96 million
* 2011: Agency Workers Directive will have an annual recurring cost to business of £1.55 billion
* 2012: Pensions Reform will have an annual recurring cost to business of £4.5 billion.
Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the national campaign was being backed locally.
She said: “We have fed our members’ views into the BCC’s work on this and we are whole heartedly behind this campaign to reduce the burden of employment law on business.
“The Government wants business to take up the slack from the public sector but that means removing the restraints from employing more staff not adding to them.
“As we all know the economic recovery is fragile and the upcoming Budget must start to deliver on the promises to business that it will be free to deliver growth in 2011.”