Employers may be sceptical that much has changed, but for many there has been tangible, positive progress. Behind the scenes with government, systems have changed making it much harder for departments to increase the quantity of regulation without finding some balancing savings elsewhere. There is, now, much more transparency surrounding the real cost to business of Government’s future plans, and business leaders for the first time have the opportunity to scrutinise laws before they are passed. The government therefore claims to have cut red tape by £10 billion over its term. But for employers there have been some significant changes to cheer, such as a reduction in audit requirements for small business will save an estimated £300 million annually.
Looking to the future and the next Government, employers will be looking for a similar commitment to reduce the burden of red tape which they have to bear. This may prove to be an uphill struggle, as with politicians seeking to secure votes, the promises are starting to mount up. For example, changes that may be on the horizon include increases in the amount of parental leave, and the Employment Tribunal system may be set for an overhaul, making it easier to bring claims. Agency worker rules could be tightened and there may be further restrictions on the use of zero-hours contracts. Employers then will look forward to May with much interest.
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