Employment Legislation

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10th February 2011.

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Photo of John Park John Park Labour

6. To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the United Kingdom Government regarding recent proposals to amend employment legislation. (S3O-12984)

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

Senior Scottish Government officials took part in discussions with their UK Government counterparts on 14 December 2010.

Photo of John Park John Park Labour

Will the minister share the context of those discussions? That would be helpful. I am concerned about proposals to change the threshold for full employment rights from one year to two years. I am interested in the Scottish Government’s approach to that. Does it support such measures from the UK Government? If not, what will it do as an employer to maintain minimum standards in employment rights?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

I acknowledge that Mr Park has been involved and interested in the matter for a long time. I value his input and I would be keen to talk with him further about the subject.

Scotland has the regulatory review group, in which the Scottish Trades Union Congress is heavily involved, to promote the principles of better regulation. We are also undertaking a mapping exercise to determine which employment laws have an impact on devolved policies.

As I said, I am open to having a further discussion with Mr Park to cover as many mutual interests as possible.

Photo of John Wilson John Wilson Scottish National Party

Will the minister confirm that, instead of undermining workers’ existing employment rights, employers should be reminded of their obligations—particularly in relation to short-time working and redundancy legislation? Will the Scottish Government use all the resources and influence that are at its disposal to ensure that all workers’ employment rights are protected in these difficult economic times?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

The matter is of course reserved and we do not yet have detailed proposals from the UK Government. However, the Scottish Government will—as ever—act in the best interests of the people of Scotland. Our newly approved budget is evidence of our capacity to support individuals, communities and economic growth concurrently. That will continue as we tackle the issues that have been raised.