Clueless. The Independent has what it thinks is good news for employees:
The minimum amount of money that employers must pay staff they make redundant is set to be increased by the Government, The Independent has learnt. In another attempt to ease the pain of those worst affected by the recession, ministers have launched a review of the minimum payments to which people are entitled by law when they lose their job. With around 1,500 posts being axed each week, unemployment will soon pass the two million mark and could eventually rise to more than three million.
So, what is the predicatble effect of making redundancies more costly to employers? You at the back, there! A firm wants to stay in business. It needs to keep cash in hand in order to do so. Looking ahead it sees uncertainty as to whether it can afford the wage bill, and it has to balance the cost of keeping people on and maintaining capacity, with the cost of losing them, and its ability to continue in business after they have left.
Yes, Purnell minor, if the cash lost by making people redundant increases, they will be made redundant sooner, and firms will be more averse to taking the risk of hiring.
As a crude estimate, we might expect the cash constraint to require someone to be sacked sooner by the amount of time in which the cost of employing them would accrue to equal the increase in statutory redundancy they would be owed. (Which is the sort of ‘linear programming’ people could do before spreadsheets and Monte Carlo methods: the wisdom of the 1970s for a government that has worked so hard to return us to them.)
Those firms that do not make such precautionary sacrifices increase their risk of total failure, and none of their workers getting redundancy pay. So higher redundancy pay means more redundancies and more business failures, in an uncertain proportion.
What’s worse, it is likely that such a change in the rules that is signalled in advance will mean large, well-informed and unsentimental corporations (which are typically more risk averse, and more capital intensive, anyway) reducing their headcounts to get under the wire. Even “a review” undertaken to give an impression of doing something, and as a sop to the trades unions, is likely to influence hiring and firing policies. And not in a good way.