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Employers show strong support for health & safety changes

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Employers show strong support for health and safety changes, more business optimism

Employers overwhelmingly support law changes to improve our health and safety record, according to the Employers and Manufacturers Association Annual Employment Round-Up Survey*.

"Employers are fully on board that changes are required to our health and safety laws," said David Lowe, EMA's Employment Services Manager.

"79 per cent of the survey supported a change to health and safety legislation," he said.

"Employers are taking a keen interest in the changes proposed, with 75 per cent saying they are very familiar or somewhat familiar with them.

"This is excellent given the early stages of the reform process.

"On trial periods we can now state categorically they are responsible for creating jobs, and people are being hired who otherwise would still be unemployed.

"Employers plainly support them strongly. The evidence is clear the job opportunities are especially benefiting are young people and those with limited skills or chequered histories.

"Employers confirmed they expect to take on more staff this year. 60 per cent reported taking on more people in 2013 with 66 per cent expecting their businesses to grow further this year.

"But there is work to do to ensure the right skills for the future are available.

"Over half of respondents - 55 per cent - believe there is already a skills shortage, or soon will be, though just 57 per cent of this group have a plan to deal with it.

"Topping the list of the most helpful changes a future Government could make to assist the employment environment was the desire to be able to have an honest conversation with an employee about a workplace problem without the threat of a personal grievance and a drawn out and convoluted process hanging over them.

"But close on the heels of that was the challenge to our education system to deliver young people with work ready skills and good abilities in the 3 R's, along with the apprenticeship system.

"The third biggest issue was the way immigration is managed. For example, businesses are concerned that once they have identified and recruited new skilled migrants they can find their new staff have their visa renewals declined after only a short time in the workplace.

"Long-standing issues raised that are still proving too hard, though a series of governments have tried, were the Holidays Act, the effect on business and jobs of an anti-business approach pursued by some union factions, drugs in the workplace, and tax compliance.

"Political parties building their 2014 Election Manifestos would do well to address these issues."

518 employers responded to the Survey which was conducted in mid-December last year. A full report on it is available.

ENDS

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