The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS) has today published an update on its review of employment laws across Government to make it as easy as possible for businesses to take people on.
The Government set out in the Coalition Agreement that it will review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees, “to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive“. The update sets out what has been achieved so far, and what they aim to do in the medium term:
Listed achievements to date:
- Consulted on a package of reforms to the employment tribunal system, aimed at encouraging earlier resolution of disputes in the workplace and reducing the number of tribunal cases. Please see my earlier post for a review of this consultation.
- launched an Employer’s Charter that reassured employers about what they can already do to deal with staff issues in the workplace (Employer’s Charter)
- launched a review of the compliance and enforcement arrangements for those employment rights enforced by Government. (Review of Government’s workplace rights compliance and enforcement arrangements -Terms of reference)
- Removed the Default Retirement Age, thus removing significant paperwork obligations for employers and bringing wider benefits to the economy, making it easier for older people to continue working;
- announced the proposed abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and Agricultural Minimum Wage
- commissioned an independent review jointly with DWP (from David Frost and Dame Carol Black) of the system for managing sickness absence
- As part of the Growth Review, BIS announced :
- a moratorium on all new domestic regulation for micro businesses (employing less than ten staff) and start-ups for a period of three years that began on 1st April 2011, as part of the Government’s Plan for Growth, which also applies to employment law.
- Repealed the planned extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of 17 year olds;
- Decided not to bring forward the dual discrimination provision in the Equality Act;
- Decided not to extend the right to request time to train to companies with fewer than 250 staff;
The Red Tape Challenge
The update hails the progress of the Government’s red tape challenge, which runs until 2013. The challenge aims to look at the stock of over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations that are active in the UK today. Everyone is invited to give their views whether as an individual, as a business, or as a representative body. The priority will be to focus on regulations that we know place the biggest burdens on businesses and society.
Medium Term Plans for the Review
In May 2011, BIS announced new areas to be reviewed:
- Collective redundancy consultation periods
- Transfer Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE)
- Compensation for discrimination awarded by employment tribunals.
- Paperwork simplification
Philip Henson comments as follows:
“It is the proposed reform of TUPE which most employers and business owners will follow with interest; especially in PR“.
Philip Henson, Partner – Bargate Murray Solicitors, London. www.bargatemurray.com
- PR industry gets a TUPE wake-up call in light of Lexis story (prweek.com)
- Red-tape reforms have accelerated, says Government (telegraph.co.uk)