Local retailers have welcomed government plans to change the rules on employment tribunals and relax regulations.

Announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable today, the plans include increasing the qualifyign period for unfair dismissal from one year to two years, and introducing fees for employees wishing to bring forward a tribunal claim.

The plans were announced alongside an Employer’s Charter, which entitles employers to ask an employee to take their annual leave at a time that suits their business, asking a woman on maternity leave when she plans to return, and asking an employee to take a pay cut. Among other changes, it also entitles employers to dismiss an employee for poor performance and ask about their future careers plans, including retirement.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive, James Lowman, said the plans would facilitate job creation.

“Local shops are job creators and as such are an essential part of the economic recovery. Ministers are right to identify the fear of tribunals as one of the barriers that slow businesses from taking on staff," he added.

“Small businesses, including local shops, are often backed into a corner when it comes to tribunal claims and are required to settle out of court to avoid expensive legal fees. These plans will offer support for employers and take steps to remove avoidable, unjustified tribunal action.”

Also welcoming the plans, Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The central issue for the economy now is jobs. The critical point is, removing deterrents to hiring new staff and reducing unfair costs will help retailers invest and create more of the new jobs the country needs.”