Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the Government has released the first in a series of regulatory reform announcements with the aim being to “improve regulation across the board to reduce burdens, push down the cost of living and drive economic growth.”

The proposed reform, which is set out in the “smarter regulation to grow the economy” policy paper, includes several changes to employment law, which employers will need to ensure that they are adequately prepared for as, although the dates for change have not yet been confirmed, they are anticipated to be in the not too distant future.

Proposed reform of employment law includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Working Time Regulations

The proposals include:

  • Removing the EU retained case law that imposes the requirement for employers to keep working hour records for almost all members of the workforce.

  • Introducing rolled up holiday pay, which is a system whereby workers can receive their holiday pay with their normal wages.

  • Merging the 4 weeks annual leave entitlement which is provided by the EU working time directive, with the 1.6 weeks statutory leave entitlement into “one pot” of statutory annual leave.

The above proposals are suggested to reduce administrative burdens on employers.

  1. Non-compete clauses

Non-compete clauses are incorporated into contracts of employment to restrict employees from working for competitors when they exit their employment, for the term of the restriction.

Although such clauses are frequently utilised by employers who seek to protect the interests of their businesses, the Government believes that unnecessarily burdensome clauses are often incorporated into contracts of employment, which consequently reduce competition amongst businesses and overly restrict workers in finding alternative employment.

Therefore, the Government proposes to introduce new legislation to limit the length of non-compete clauses to 3 months. This will be a major change for businesses that typically incorporate non-compete clauses of 6-12 months in duration.

  1. TUPE Regulations

Under current regulations, businesses cannot consult employees directly where they do not have employee representatives in place and instead new employee representatives are required to be elected.

The Government proposes to remove this requirement for businesses with fewer than 50 people and transfers affecting less than 10 employees.

The Government claims that this will simplify the transfer process, improve engagement with workers and continue to protect the rights of workers.

No timetable has been announced for the above, although none of the changes require primary legislation, so they could be implemented fairly quickly.

Farleys Solicitors specialise in employment law & HR for businesses. If your business requires HR & employment law advice and support in relation to TUPE, contracts of employment, staff handbooks, recruitment, restructures, redundancy, disciplinaries, grievances, employee exits, settlement agreements, post-termination restrictions, and Employment Tribunal claim or defence and representation, please contact our experts on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form and a member of the team will get in touch with you.