The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition published its programme for Government on 20th May 2010, setting out its plans for the next 5 years. It is important that employers keep up with any changes put forward by the Government so that any alterations that are required to business practice can be done without disruption. The main aspects for employers include proposals to:
• Cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount.
• Review of IR35 legislation and small business taxation.
• Review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees, to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.
• End the so-called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.
• Promote equal pay and take a range of measures to end discrimination in the workplace.
• Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting with business on how best to do so.
• Undertake a fair pay review in the public sector to implement the proposed ’20 times’ pay multiple, whereby no public sector worker can earn over 20 times more than the lowest-paid person in their organisation.
• Look to promote gender equality on the boards of listed companies
• Ensure there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers [to Europe] over the course of the next Parliament and examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the UK.
• Review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels.
• Encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.
• Require public bodies to publish online the job titles of every member of staff and the salaries and expenses of senior officials earning above a certain level, together with organograms that include all positions in those bodies.
• Require anyone paid more than the Prime Minister in the centrally funded public sector to have their salary signed off by the Treasury.
• Introduce new protections for whistleblowers in the public sector.
• Introduce an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work.
• Apply transitional controls as a matter of course in the future for all new EU Member States.
• Introduce new measures to minimise abuse of the immigration system, for example via student routes, and tackle human trafficking as a priority.
• Support the National Minimum Wage
because of the protection it gives low-income workers and the incentives to work it provides.
• Change the law so that historical convictions for consensual gay sex with over-16s will be treated as spent and will not show up on criminal record checks.
• Seek to stop foreign healthcare professionals working in the NHS unless they have passed robust language and competence tests.
• Phase out the default retirement age
and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.
• Simplify the rules and regulations relating to pensions to help reinvigorate occupational pensions, encouraging companies to offer high-quality pensions to all employees and work with business and the industry to support auto enrolment.
• Reform the existing rigid national pay and conditions rules [for schoolteachers] to give schools greater freedoms to pay good teachers more and deal with poor performance.
• Give public-sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they deliver. This will empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services.
• Reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need.
• Increase employer National Insurance thresholds.
Peninsula clients will of course be kept up to date with any changes as and when they are made by the Government. If you would like to talk about any current legislation that you are unsure of, call the Advice Service on 0844 892 2772 and one of our trained specialists will be waiting to help.