Scrapping of business Red Tape: Beware what you wish for

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill contains many of the changes prompted by the Government’s Red Tape Challenge, which is now in its final stages and will become law at some point early in 2013 – but no exact date given as yet.

But there are some changes we already know about.

Following the simplification of the CRB system earlier this year, checks migrate online in March and become portable from job to job. Employers will be able to confirm that no new information has been added since the check was originally made, meaning businesses won’t have to obtain a new check each time he or she starts a new job.

This will speed up the system considerably, and will be much less onerous for employers. There should be cost implications here too in terms of required manpower if nothing else, so this new way of doing things will be most welcome for those small business who have to CRB their staff, particularly those with high employee turnover.

March also sees parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child increase from three to four months – employers won’t welcome this much. To complicate matters some of these months will be transferable between parents. This is not just costly to business in terms of sorting cover, but it’ll mean complicated form filling. We don’t think this is a necessary burden for business in the current climate.

At some point in the summer fees for tribunal claims will be introduced. This is a landmark for employers who have seen the number of tribunal cases spiral during the past 10 years, in part thanks to the rise of ‘no win, no fee’ legal practices. Claimants will be required to pay an initial fee to make a claim and a further fee if it proceeds to a full hearing. This should put a stop to those making vexatious claims, and will likely mean only those with a valid case will proceed to court.

Tribunal judges will have the power to order the fees to be repaid to the claimant by the employer if they are successful in their claim.

So if 2013 is remembered for nothing else, it’ll be the sheer number of changes to employment law and the impact felt by business, good or bad.