Budget 2011: Government announces new measures to reduce employment regulation

In Budget 2011, the Government has announced, under its "Plan for Growth", a number of steps to reduce the cost and burden of employment law-related regulation on businesses. The Government will:

  • not extend the statutory right for employees to make a request in relation to study or training to businesses with fewer than 250 employees;
  • not implement the dual discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010;
  • repeal plans to extend the statutory right to request flexible working to parents of children aged 17, previously scheduled for April 2011;
  • consult to remove the "unworkable" requirement in the Equality Act 2010 for businesses to take reasonable steps to prevent persistent harassment of their staff by third parties (on the grounds that "they have no direct control over it"); and
  • exempt businesses with fewer than 10 employees and genuine start-ups from new domestic legislation (except that relating to public safety and national security) from 1 April 2011 for three years. 

The Government also announced a "major drive" to revise burdensome EU regulations and directives. In particular, it will seek to prevent what it describes as "costly and regressive" changes to maternity rights, citing the European Parliament's proposed revision of Pregnant Workers Directive (92/85/EC) to give employees the right to 20 weeks' maternity leave and two weeks' paternity leave on full pay. The Government will also negotiate to avoid any "costly revisions" to the Information and Consultation Directive (2002/14/EC). 


Budget 2011 - key announcements Key information for employers from Budget 2011 on XpertHR and Employment Intelligence

The Plan for Growth (PDF format, 1.7MB) Download the Government's full "Plan for Growth" document from the HM Treasury website. 

Budget 2011 (PDF format, 900K) Download the complete Budget 2011 document from the HM Treasury website.