The Government consults on reforming the reporting requirements for companies to provide information for investors on performance and pay. It is also looking at ways to stop executive pay from escalating when it does not correlate with company performance.
Consultation document: Consulting on a new reporting framework (PDF format, 378K) (on the BIS website)
Summary of responses to discussion paper on executive remuneration: Discussion paper: summary of responses (PDF format, 197K) (on the BIS website)
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The Health and Safety Executive consults on proposals to replace the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2739) to incorporate the European Commission's reasoned opinion on the Government's transposition of Directive 83/477/EEC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work. The Directive provides for an exemption for low-risk work in certain circumstances, and the European Commission found that the Government had widened the scope of the exemption in its transposition of the Directive.
Consultation document: Proposals on revised control of asbestos regulations (PDF format, 1.44MB) (on the HSE website)
The Government consults on increasing pension contributions for civil servants, teachers and NHS employees in 2012/13. The consultations set out the Government's proposals for limiting the impact of the changes on low-paid employees. The Government states that it will hold further discussions with trade unions on increasing contributions in later years. The civil service pension scheme consultation closes on 30 September, the teachers' pension scheme consultation on 20 October, and the NHS pension scheme consultation on 21 October.
Consultation document: Principal civil service pension scheme: consultation on proposed increases to employee contribution rates effective from April 2012 (PDF format, 122K) (on the civil service website)
Consultation document: Consultation on proposed increases to contributions for members of the teachers’ pension scheme (on the Department for Education website)
Consultation document: NHS pension scheme: consultation on proposed increases to employee contribution rates effective from April 2012 (PDF format, 215K) (on the Department of Health website)
The Government's Red Tape Challenge, which aims to reduce the regulatory burden on business, focuses on employment law. The Government invites views on whether or not existing employment laws are necessary and appropriate, the value of simplifying employment law, and whether or not the implementation and enforcement of employment law needs to be improved. There are four categories on which comments are sought: compliance and enforcement; letting people go; managing staff; and taking people on. The Red Tape Challenge is accompanied by a discussion document, Flexible, effective, fair: Promoting economic growth through a strong and efficient labour market (PDF format, 172K) (on the BIS website), which sets out the principles that are guiding the Government's review.
Consultation portal: Red Tape Challenge: Employment-related law (PDF format, 299K) (on the
Cabinet Office website)
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The Government consults on the reform of disability employment programmes to help meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people. The consultation follows the Sayce review, "Getting in, staying in and getting on", on specialist disability employment programmes.
Consultation document: Specialist disability employment programmes (PDF format, 348K) (on the DWP website)
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on proposals to change its costs-recovery scheme. The Government will place a duty on the HSE to recover its costs where an organisation is in material breach of health and safety law and the HSE requires it to rectify the breach. Fees would be recoverable from the point of intervention to its conclusion at an estimated £133 per hour. The consultation seeks views on how the HSE will recover its costs. The new scheme could apply from as early as 6 April 2012.
Consultation document: HSE proposal for extending costs recovery (PDF format, 447K) (on the HSE website)
Outcome summary: Outcome of the consultation on the Fee for Intervention Scheme as presented to the HSE Board on 7 December 2011 (PDF format, 360K) (on the HSE website)
The consultation sets out proposals to implement the recommendations of the "Making automatic enrolment work review", including how to manage the burden on business. It also sets out proposed Regulations for persons certifying money purchase, personal pension and certain hybrid schemes, and on occupations not yet covered by automatic enrolment.
Consultation document: Workplace pension reform - completing the legislative framework for automatic enrolment: consultation on draft Regulations (PDF format, 318K) (on the DWP website)
Government response: Workplace pension reform - completing the legislative framework for automatic enrolment (PDF format, 287K) (on the DWP website)
The Government consults on legislation to ensure that income
tax charges for "disguised remuneration" do not apply when: contributions are
being made to a relevant non-UK scheme that receives UK tax relief; funds are
transferred from a registered pension scheme to a qualifying recognised overseas
pension scheme; or a payment is made by a pension scheme that has been subject
to unauthorised payment charges.
Consultation document: Disguised
remuneration - draft Regulations (on the HMRC website)
The Government invites comments on the burdens that employers face in operating separate income tax and national insurance contribution systems. The call for evidence asks 14 questions, including how much staff time is used in managing the two systems. The Government will consult on its proposals for reform in autumn 2011, and responses to the call for evidence will inform the consultation.
Consultation document: Integrating the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions (PDF format, 280K) (on the HM Treasury website)
Government response: Integrating the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions: Next steps (PDF format, 531K) (on the HM Treasury website)
The Government consults on changing tier 2 of the points-based system to end the assumption that it is a permanent, rather than a temporary, migration route. The Government is also reviewing the routes by which migrants can enter the UK to work other than through tiers 1 and 2, and considering whether or not to require dependants of tier 2 workers to speak English.
Consultation document: Employment-related settlement, tier 5 and overseas domestic workers (PDF format, 690K) (on the UK Border Agency website)
The Government consults on a new penalty framework for civil penalties administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The penalties in scope are those that the Review of Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards has not yet considered, including most penalties relating to the taxes and duties administered by HMRC and a few non-tax penalties.
Consultation document: Modernising powers, deterrents and safeguards: The simplification of regulatory penalties (PDF format, 244K) (on the HMRC website)
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is consulting on its proposed submission in respect of four cases before the European Court of Human Rights. The EHRC seeks to clarify the application of arts.9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights when tribunals and courts decide cases on religious discrimination. It also consults on whether or not the concept of reasonable adjustments would be useful in relation to the protection of the manifestation of religion or belief.
Consultation document: Legal intervention on religion or belief rights: seeking your views (on the EHRC website)
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The Government consults on: changes to the qualifying conditions for the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) so that more schemes qualify; changes to the way FAS payments are calculated; changes to scheme managers' powers; and transferring the responsibility for investigating complaints against scheme managers.
Consultation document: The Financial Assistance Scheme draft Regulations (PDF format, 244K) (on the DWP website)
As part of its "red tape challenge", the Government wants to know about the experiences businesses have had of regulatory enforcement. This includes all types of enforcement, for example support and guidance, risk assessments, inspections and sanctions.
Consultation portal: Red tape challenge: Regulatory enforcement (on the Cabinet Office website)
The Government consults on changes to the tax rules on employer asset-backed contributions to defined-benefit registered pension schemes, which are used to meet pension scheme deficits. It proposes two options to minimise the unintended tax relief that can arise from the way some contributions are structured and to ensure that the amount of tax relief reflects the value of the contributions.
Consultation document: Employer asset-backed pension contributions (on the HMRC website)
The Government consults on proposed amendments to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Employer Debt) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/678). The consultation has arisen because of arguments that the Regulations place unnecessary burdens on corporate activity. The Government seeks view on a proposal based on the existing apportionment arrangements.
Consultation document: Employer debt (s.75 of the Pensions Act 1995): consultation on draft Regulations (PDF format, 124K) (on the DWP website)
The Government consults on proposals to overhaul the leave system for parents and the right to request flexible working, changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), and introducing a requirement for tribunals to order equal pay audits. The Government proposes:
- retaining an 18-week maternity leave period to be taken around the birth of a child, and reclassifying the rest of maternity leave as "flexible parental leave", giving each parent the right to four weeks' leave in the child's first year and parents the right to take an additional period of 30 weeks' leave, which can be shared between them and taken in blocks;
- extending the right to take unpaid parental leave to parents of children over the age of five;
- giving fathers the right to attend antenatal appointments;
- extending the right to make a request to work flexibly to all employees who have been employed for 26 weeks, and making changes to the process for considering requests;
- requiring employment tribunals to order an employer to conduct an equal pay audit and publish the results of the audit where the tribunal has found that the employer has breached equal pay legislation; and
- enabling employees to reschedule annual leave that coincides with sickness absence and carry over a maximum of four weeks' statutory annual leave where they cannot take the leave due to sickness absence or where they have taken maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave during the leave year, and allowing employers to defer or buy out 1.6 weeks' statutory annual leave.
The Government intends to implement the changes to parental leave by April 2015 and the changes to annual leave by 2012.
Consultation document: Consultation on modern workplaces (PDF format, 826K) (on the BIS website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on equal pay (PDF format, 207K) (on the Home Office website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on flexible parental leave (PDF format, 390K) (on the BIS website)
Government response: Modern workplaces response: Consultation on flexible working (PDF format, 307K) (on the BIS website)
The Government has commissioned an independent review of health and safety legislation to determine the opportunities for reducing its burden on business while continuing to improve health and safety outcomes. The review panel seeks evidence that will help to inform the review. The review is due to make recommendations to the Government by the end of October 2011.
Consultation document: The Löfstedt review: an independent review of health and safety legislation - call for evidence (PDF format, 1,001K) (on the DWP website)
The Financial Reporting Council is consulting on whether or not the UK corporate governance code should be amended to help listed companies achieve more diverse and effective boards. The consultation document includes draft changes to the code and seeks views on when the changes should be implemented. The consultation is made in response to the review of gender diversity on the boards of listed companies conducted by Lord Davies in February 2011. Lord Davies recommended that the code should be amended to require listed companies to establish a policy on gender diversity.
Consultation document: Gender diversity on boards (PDF format, 127K) (on the Financial Reporting Council website)
As part of its "red tape challenge", the Government is inviting businesses and individuals to comment on health and safety legislation, with a view to simplifying health and safety regulations and supporting business growth. The regulations have been divided into four categories: major-hazard industries; higher-risk workplaces; dealing with hazardous chemicals and materials; and general health and safety in the workplace.
Consultation portal: Red tape challenge: Health and safety (on the Cabinet Office website)
The CIPD consults on a revised code of professional conduct. The aim of the code is to help maintain the professional standards of the HR profession. The code is based on four principles: professional competence and behaviour; ethical standards and integrity; representation of the profession; and stewardship.
Consultation document: Code of professional conduct: draft for consultation (PDF format, 218K) (on the CIPD website)
As part of its "red tape challenge", the Government seeks views on how to simplify or deregulate equality legislation, by reviewing how the Equality Act 2010 is working in practice. It has divided the measures for review in the Equality Act 2010 into eight main themes.
Consultation portal: Red tape challenge: Equalities (on the Cabinet Office website)
The Government consults on proposals to overhaul the county court system. Proposed changes that could affect employers include: raising the minimum value of claims in the High Court from £25,000 to £100,000; facilitating third-party debt orders by creating a mechanism for the court to discover a debtor’s current employer without having to rely on the debtor; and extending the scheme applicable to low-value road traffic accident claims to employers' liability claims for personal injury.
Consultation document: Solving disputes in the county courts: creating a simpler, quicker and more proportionate system (PDF format, 687K) (on the Ministry of Justice website)
The Government consults on reforms to the state pension system, to help people to save for retirement and to help the Government to determine the most appropriate mechanism for future revision of the state pension age. It proposes to accelerate existing reforms so that the state pension becomes a two-tier, flat-rate structure more quickly, or to introduce a single-tier flat rate set above the level of the pension-credit standard minimum guarantee. The reasons for reform are the complexity of the current arrangements, which mean that few people know what their pension will be when they retire and that saving incentives are unclear, and significant fairness and sustainability issues.
Consultation document: A state pension for the 21st century (PDF format, 959K) (on the DWP website)
The Government consults on proposals to change the Fair Deal policy. The Fair Deal is a non-statutory policy that applies to public sector pensions when employees are compulsorily transferred to a non-public sector employer and requires the new employer to provide a broadly comparable pension scheme to transferred staff. The Independent Public Service Pensions Commission conducted a report that stated that the policy is a "barrier to non-public service providers, potentially reducing the efficiencies and innovation in public service delivery that could be achieved". The consultation document sets out the objectives that the future policy might meet, which are: delivering value for money for the taxpayer; providing an appropriate level of protection to public sector employees; removing barriers to the plurality of public service provision; and allocating the costs and risks of pension provision appropriately. The Government proposes a range of possible options for the future policy.
Consultation document: Consultation on the Fair Deal Policy: treatment of pensions on compulsory transfer of staff from the public sector (PDF format, 331K) (on the HM Treasury website)