The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has reported that UK SMEs are increasingly confused by government employment legislation.A helpline that the FSB operates for its members has said that the number of calls concerning employment queries rose by eight per cent in 2006 to over 76,000.Questions about age discrimination saw the greatest rise, increasing by 664 per cent after the government proposed new legislation during the year. Equally, inquiries about pensions rose by 88 per cent in response to the government’s proposal to act on pension provision for all workers.FSB employment chairman Alan Tyrrell recognised that employment regulations were important, but questioned the impact they have on SMEs."Employment law is vital to ensure that both employers and employees know where they stand and to protect both parties as they carry out their work."However, the complexity of these laws is placing an intolerable burden on smaller firms who are not big enough to have their own HR department. The average small business owner spends 28 hours per month filling in forms for government," he continued.The news comes after several unions and employers have questioned what the impact of a European green paper on labour laws will have on UK businesses. Amicus, Britain’s biggest private sector union, said that the new laws "would cause job losses and wage reductions across the whole continent".© Adfero Ltd

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