It’s been nearly a month since the General Election, and the new Conservative Government has wasted no time putting together the changes they hope to implement over the course of the next parliament.
You may have heard the Queen’s speech last week, but do you know how the policies she covered may affect your small business?
If you’re an employer in the UK, the following changes, if they become law, are likely to have an impact on how you run your business, or manage your employees:
1 – The impact of the EU referendum, currently scheduled for before the end of 2017, and any renegotiation of the terms upon which Britain works with Europe, could have far-reaching changes not just to business directly but also to employment law, as much of the current law we use comes from the EU.
It is far from certain, however, which parts of employment law would be amended or repealed if the government were no longer tied to European Directives like the Working Time Directive. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, in or out, this is likely to change how your business is run.
2 – The replacement of the Human Rights Act 1998 with a British Bill of Rights would have a huge impact on the UK in general, and is likely to affect employers in areas like discrimination law and privacy law. However, the detail on how exactly it would change is currently lacking.
3 – Although unlikely to impact upon small businesses unless you are involved in public sector delivery, the Trade Unions Bill plans to make some significant changes to existing rules on industrial action where public services are involved. For example:
– minimum vote count for a lawful ballot must number 50% or more of eligible voters
– new rules to restrict picketing, for example prevention of intimidation of non-striking voters
– time limit after the ballot, in which the strike must take place
4 – Plans to link future changes to the personal income tax allowance to changes to the National Minimum Wage were announced, to ensure those who work 30 hours a week on the lowest wage wouldn’t have to pay income tax.
5 – The government wants to provide free childcare with the Childcare Bill, increasing the provision of the free service for eligible working parents of children aged three and four to 30 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year.
6 – The new Immigration Bill plans a tougher stance on migrant workers and in particular:
– Illegal working would be a criminal offence, and wages paid will be seized as proceeds of crimeA new enforcement agency would be created with powers to take action against employers who exploit migrants
– A new enforcement agency would be created with powers to take action against employers who exploit migrants
– Employment agencies would no longer be able to advertise jobs abroad only
7 – The much-touted Enterprise Bill is set to reduce the amount of regulation on small businesses so they can create more jobs, and put a cap on exit payments or enhanced redundancy payments made to public sector workers.
8 – The provisions of the Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill would help create three million new apprenticeships over the next five years, and introduce statutory duties for ministers to report annually on progress towards full employment and the apprenticeships target.
9 – To try and counter extremism, the Extremism Bill is set to deliver measures to enable employers to check whether an individual is an extremist, and bar them from working with children.
So, if you’re still wondering what changes the recent election will bring as a small employer – there you have it. Some of these laws may not reach the statute books, but there’s certainly no harm in keeping an eye on the changes in case!
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