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SME business regulation latest update (Mon 3rd Oct)

Eyebrows were raised yesterday (Oct 2nd) when Chris Philp, Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury, announced at the Conservative party conference that current Government plans for the near future include that “no business of less than 500 employees gets subject to business regulation”.

This would indeed be a radical policy! Theoretically it’d cover not only employment law but environment, health and safety, finance rules, etc. However, before business owners rush to open that inner city firework factory staffed entirely by the under-15s that they’ve been dreaming of, it’s best to check the detail.

Philp appears to have been referring to policies trailed earlier in the day by BEIS which pledge the Government to exempt businesses with under 500 employees from any new or updated regulations where proportionate. This is likely to involve future ‘upgrades’ to existing regulations from which businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempted.

So what does this mean for employment law? Not a lot at the moment to be honest. The BEIS press release is light on detail in terms of what regulations will be affected. It may mean some tinkering with aspects of data protection law (no full exemptions!) over the next couple of years, and possibly changes to the Gender Pay Gap and ICE (Information and Consultation with Employees) regulations over a similar period. But it looks like – for the moment at least – no huge changes are immediately on the horizon.

So put away those firework manufacture business plans…

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