The UK Government has announced the first in a series of upcoming regulatory reform packages proposed following the UK’s departure from the EU.
These changes are intended to improve regulation with the aim to ‘boost the economy’, by reducing burdens and cutting costs for businesses and by supporting consumers.
Employment law is the first area to be addressed with the following changes being announced:
- A reduction to the Working Time Regulations’ reporting requirements as follows:
- Removing the requirement for employers to keep records of working hours; and
- Holiday pay:
- Merging ‘normal’ holiday (4 weeks) and ‘additional’ holiday (1.6 weeks) to create one statutory leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks per year. We wait to discover whether there will also be a change to the method of calculating holiday pay; and
- Permitting ‘rolled-up’ holiday pay (i.e., allowing holiday pay to be included or “rolled up” in basic pay).
- TUPE regulations will be simplified in that businesses with fewer than 50 employees and transferring fewer than 10 people will be able to consult directly with the employees affected, rather than having to consult with employee representatives.
- Limiting the duration of non-compete clauses to three months. This will not impact non-solicitation clauses or employers’ ability to restrict activities during paid notice periods or paid gardening leave.
It is currently unclear when these reforms will be implemented, but for those which do not require a change to primary legislation, we can expect sometime this year. What is clear, is that this will be the beginning of a number of changes and we will provide further briefings on those as things unfold.
An intrinsically linked topic is the Government’s announcement that it will abandon the “sunset” clause in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. This means that rather than all EU law being automatically revoked at the end of 2023 unless a statutory instrument is passed to preserve it, EU law will now remain binding unless it is specifically revoked. The Government has published the list of EU based statutory instruments that it intends to revoke on 31 December 2023 and of the around 600 laws facing revocation, the impact on employment law appears to be relatively minimal.
The above is good news for businesses and goes at least some way to reducing the tiresome burdens they face as employers.