The Budget on 23 March 2011 contained several important tax changes. Please see our Budget Briefing for a summary of the financial implications for business of the Budget.
From an employment law perspective, the Budget and the accompanying Plan for Growth, confirmed many of the proposals previously announced by the Government including:
- the right to request time off to train will not be extended to organisation with fewer than 250 employees;
- the public will have the opportunity to participate in a wide-scale review of regulations and legislation to identify those that are "excessively burdensome" or impede business growth (see News round up for more information);
- the Employment Tribunal system will be reviewed and reformed. (The Government has already launched a public consultation into proposals to reform the Employment Tribunal system, including charging fees for submitting a claim, and extending the qualifying length of service period for raising an unfair dismissal claims).
However, there were also several new proposals affecting employment law, including:
- start-up companies and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees will be exempt from compliance with any new domestic regulations to be implemented in the next three years (e.g. the Agency Workers Regulations);
- the Government will consult on the removal of what it refers to as the "unworkable requirement" in the Equality Act 2010 for employers to prevent harassment of their staff by third parties;
- the dual discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010 will not be brought into force;
- the extension to the right to request flexible working to all parents who have children under 18 (i.e. extending the right to parents of 17 year olds), which had been due to come into force this month, will be scrapped. The Government remains committed to its previously announced intention of extending this right to all employees, not just parents and carers.