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Radical reforms aimed at freeing small businesses from excessive red tape

21 March 2011 #Employment

The Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk, has revealed a range of measures aimed at helping UK businesses grow, including:

  • Withdrawing the Government`s proposal to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of 17 year olds, which was due to be introduced on 6 April 2011.  The right to request flexible working will continue to be available only to parents of children under 17 and of disabled children under 18, and to the carers of certain adults, subject to their meeting the eligibility criteria.
  • Not extending the right to request time off to train to employees of businesses with less than 250 people.
  • Exempting businesses with fewer than ten employees, and genuine start ups, from new domestic regulations for three years (except regulations in public safety and national security).  This will mean, for example, that such businesses will be exempt from any regulations brought in to implement the Government`s proposals to share parental leave and to extend the right to request flexible working for all employees.
  • Introducing more transparency into the Government`s One-in, One-out rule, by publishing the opinions of the Regulatory Policy Committee where it does not believe the evidence supports a new regulation.
  • A public audit of almost 22,000 pieces of legislation that are currently in force, with the aim of removing overly burdensome or unnecessary regulations.

Mr Prisk has identified that "micro businesses" (employing less than 10 employees) account for over a fifth of private sector turnover, and over a third of private sector employment.  However, micro businesses are disproportionately affected by red tape: "A large company may be able to afford the dedicated compliance and HR personnel to cope with the large volumes of regulation that are part of commercial life. For the smaller firm, this may mean the owner herself having to waste hours on form filling."

The Government will also continue to consult on increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one year`s to two years` service.  The Government`s priority is to restore the confidence to hire during a period of high unemployment.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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