The 2011 Budget was published on 23rd March 2011 by the Government, accompanied by its ‘Plan for Growth’ document – setting out the Government’s vision for removing barriers to growth by removing red tape, especially that surrounding small businesses.
Many of the employment-related measures that were announced, you may already have known, however there were a number of additions that as an employer you should be aware of.
Cutting the Red Tape – What’s new?
- Exempting start-ups and small business from new laws. From 1st April 2011, start-up companies and employers of fewer than 10 employees – “micros-businesses” – will be exempt from compliance with new domestic regulations for three years.
- Removing the extension of flexible working. Repealing regulations extending the right to request flexible working to parents of children under 18, which was due to take effect from 6th April 2011.
- Third party harassment. The Government will consult on removing the third-party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 which require an employer to take reasonable steps to protect employees from third-party harassment.
- Dual Discrimination. Not bringing into force the dual discrimination provisions contained in the Equality Act 2010.
What’s not so new?
In an effort to reduce the number and complexity of regulations that businesses must comply with, the following measures have been proposed:
- Undertaking a public audit of existing regulation. Launching a public review of current regulations with a view to removing those which are “excessively burdensome”. over 21,000 regulations, grouped into themes, will be reviewed and made open to comment.
- Changing the health and safety regime. This will involve removing automatic health and safety inspections for “reasonable employers” (with a concentrated effort to target more “high risk locations”), regulating unqualified health and safety consultants, reviewing health and safety law to remove unnecessary regulation and introducing online guidance with information in health and safety contained in one place.
- Not extending the right to request time off to train for companies of fewer than 250 employees, contrary to recent government proposals.
- Reforming the employment tribunals system. This already is subject to a public consultation, including the possibility of introducing fees and increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one to two years.
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