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British Rubber & Polyurethane Products Association

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Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill published

Posted on 08 June 2012

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has now been published and
presented to Parliament.  From an employment law perspective, it
includes measures to improve the employment tribunal system, as well as
provisions on various non-employment matters.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill will improve the
employment tribunal system by encouraging parties to come together to
settle their dispute before an employment tribunal claim is lodged,
through ACAS early conciliation and greater use of settlement
agreements. It will also make the determination of less complex
disputes quicker and cheaper for employers and employees alike, through
a new ‘Rapid Resolution’ scheme.  Taking away the fear of employment
tribunals will, according to the Government, give business more
confidence to take on new staff.

The name of ‘compromise agreements’ is being changed to ‘settlement
agreements’ to help improve understanding of their purpose.  This is
part of a broader package to simplify and increase the use of such
agreements to resolve workplace disputes, particularly for small
businesses, without the need for an employment tribunal. The Government
believes ‘settlement’ more accurately describes an agreement that is
about delivering a satisfactory solution for both parties.  The
legislation on ‘Rapid Resolution’ will allow legal officers to determine
prescribed employment tribunal claims.  This will resolve more
straightforward employment disputes – such as holiday pay – quickly and
at less cost to both parties.

Generally, the Bill will also simplify regulation by reducing
inspection burdens on businesses of all sizes and increasing SME access
to reliable, consistent advice on complying with regulations in areas
such as trading standards, health and safety and environmental health,
ensuring powers to put a time limit on new regulations via 'sunset
clauses’ and repealing some unnecessary regulations.  The Bill includes
some of the first repeals to be implemented from the Red Tape
Challenge.  Overall, of the 1,500 regulations where Ministers have
already made decisions, the Government has committed to scrap or
improve over 50%.

The Bill now begins its passage through both Houses of Parliament.