Extension of the right to request flexible working to be repealed and new measures to reduce red tape

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a range of measures to reduce the amount of red tape faced by business, which include repealing the Regulations extending the right to request flexible working to the parents of 17 year olds, and introducing a moratorium on new regulation for small businesses. The Government believes that the reforms will remove barriers to growth.

In September 2010 the Government announced that the right to request flexible working would be extended to parents of children under 18 years old in April 2011. The Government’s recent announcement now means that the right to request flexible working will continue to be available only to parents of children aged under 17 and disabled children under 18, and carers of certain adults.

The Government will also introduce a moratorium exempting businesses with fewer than ten employees, and genuine start ups, from new domestic regulation for three years. As a result, such businesses will be exempt if the Government does create a new flexible system of shared parental leave, or extend the right to request flexible working for all employees. The Government has also confirmed that the right to request time off to train will not now be extended to firms employing fewer than 250 people.

These measures will be accompanied by a public audit of almost 22,000 existing laws, which will be grouped into themes on a dedicated website and businesses will be asked to tell the Government what they think of those regulations and how to improve the system. Any overly burdensome or unnecessary regulations will be removed unless Government departments can prove there is a good reason for them.

This is the first time that such a radical approach has been taken and businesses are being given the chance to play a part in the birth of regulations that affect them. A website has not yet been set up but businesses should keep their eyes open for further announcements as this is an opportunity not to be missed.

This article was written by Lara Murray a Solicitor in our Employment Department.

March 2011