April 5 2012

Tomorrow, (Friday 6th April), is the first Common Commencement Date for 2012, which will see a number of changes to regulation come into effect.

Commenting on extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "Doubling the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years sends the right message to business, and shows that the government is committed to reducing the regulatory burden faced by UK firms. Dismissal rules are a major barrier to growth for many businesses, with 47%* saying they found them 'extremely' or 'fairly' burdensome. The majority of small businesses have ambitions to grow, and this will boost their confidence to hire. The government's own figures show that this measure alone will see a net benefit to business of £4.7m, although this is likely an underestimate when taking into account the number of jobs it will help create.

"Although this is a good start, more changes are needed if the government is to create a really hard-hitting deregulatory package for the labour market. This includes reforming redundancy rules, introducing a no-fault dismissal route and following through on fees for tribunal claimants."

On changes to health and safety, including RIDDOR (Reporting of Injurious, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences) John Longworth said: "Extending the RIDDOR reporting time to seven days is a welcome step in the right direction, as it will go some way to reducing the administrative burden many businesses face when dealing with health and safety regulation. However, the government's own figures show that this will only save firms £240,000 annually, which in the grand scheme of things, is tiny. If the government really wants to get tough on deregulation, it will need to go much further in reducing cost and compliance around health and safety legislation."