Business in 2013: 8 pieces of new legislation you need to know

How do you stand on your business legislation changes from 2012-2013? We thought as much. Lucky for you, we spent Christmas poring over official government documents. Merry us.

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You might think that an unending hangover is all 2013’s got wrapped up for you, but you’d be hideously, unattractively wrong. For business owners, young entrepreneurs and those sweating to understand the current business market, the start of a new year means plenty of new information to absorb – and seeing as your bloodstream has suffered quite enough, we’ve decided to simplify it for you. Eight new pieces of legislation you should all wrap your headaches around – start 2013 with knowledge at your fingertips.

8.The “One In, Two Out” Rule

The what now?

So last year the government introduced a new rule meant to aid young business owners – the ‘one in, one out’ rule. The ethos was fairly simple: many young businesses felt intimidated to make necessary strides for growth and change because of the number of new regulations they would have to comply with. The One In One Out rule meant that for every regulation imposed by ministers that would increase costs for business owners, an existing (equally costly) regulation would have to be removed. Last year the scheme actually exceeded its targets, removing £836 million worth of costs for business owners. This year, the government has decided to up the ante – for every new costly regulation, two must be removed.

Is it good?

Well, it certainly means that the government’s plan to deregulate the way in which businesses are controlled by the state is gathering force, which will hopefully mean less red tape and more opportunities for growth for SME’s.

 7. Raising the participation age

The what now?

Think you’re only legally required to stay in full-time education until the age of 16? THINK AGAIN. The government is increasing the age to which all young people must stay in full-time training, from 16 to 17 (in 2013) and 18 (as of 2015).

Is it good?

Well, not for those hoping to start full-time work directly after their GCSE’s. But the good news is that those disinterested in A-levels won’t be forced to sit them; students will be able to choose from further education, apprenticeships and part-time employment.

6. Employment tribunal fees

The what now?

To date, there’s been no official cost for employees to bring a claim of unfair dismissal before an employment tribunal – well, that’s set to change. Though there’s no official start-date, it will be the responsibility of the employee to foot the bill of unfair dismissal, with initial costs ranging from a few hundred to up to a thousand pounds (this is TBC, just going off media speculation at the moment).

Is it good?

For the individual? Probably not, seeing as the cost has moved from state to personal, and if you can’t afford to pay, then you can’t afford to have justice done. However, the shift will free up the costs currently covered by the tax-payer, and the hope is that it will discourage malicious or speculative claims. For the greater good, then? Possibly.

5. Employee-Shareholder contract introduced

The what now?

In 2013 a new type of contract will be introduced, allowing employers to ask their employees to suspend their usual rights in exchange for shares in the company they’re joining. Sound a bit like the sort of thing they made the skinny British guys sign before they climbed aboard the Death Star? Yeah.

Under the new contract, employers will be allowed to demand their employees suspend their employment rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy and right to request flexible working and time off for training. They can also require you provide 16 weeks’ notice of their date of return early from maternity or adoption leave, instead of the usual 8. In return, the employees will gain shares in the business they work for, of a value between £2000 and £50,000.

 Is it good?

Not particularly. It all sounds like part of the government’s plan to deregulate UK business, in order that more power is put in the hands of the employers, and less is at the behest of The State At Large. But there’s no denying that this type of contract puts the employee in a very unstable position, no matter the improved prospects for earning.

4. No more safety inspections for low risk companies

The what now?

As part of the whole red tape slashing extravaganza, the government has scrapped hundreds of thousands of companies from their legal health and safety checks. This means that only companies that pose a genuine safety risk to their employees (and those with a history of proven negligence) will be investigated.

 Is it good?

Yes, probably. The need to investigate the health and safety measures of small-to-medium sized companies is pretty slim – emphasis should be put on areas like construction, restaurants and scientific research. Slashing the checks will save time and money, and we’ll all just have to make sure we have the right sort of spinny chair so our backs don’t get all sore and stuff.

3. Changes to statutory maternity, adoption and paternity pay

The what now?

Nice and simple this one; from 7th April the standard rate of Maternity, Adoption and Paternity pay rises from £135.45 to £136.78 per week. Hooray.

Is it good?

For those with families on the horizon? Certainly.

2. Increase in Parental Leave

The what now?

Again, we’ll keep it fairly concise. As of this year official unpaid parental leave will increase from 13 to 18 weeks.

Is it good?

It’s probably a lot fairer on harassed young parents – though for start-ups struggling to get by without a vital member of staff it will certainly be a bit more of a headache.

1. Consumer Rights Directive

The what now?

Having been in the pipeline for a few years now, it looks like the Consumer Rights Directive laws will be fully integrated into our laws by the end of 2013. The Consumer Rights Directive has been created to increase the protection of customers whilst buying online – meaning companies have to be far more transparent with the costs they charge, the services they are providing and more generous with refund rights. It’s a directive that will be implanted across the EU, hopefully saving online shoppers money throughout Europe.

Is it good?

Absolutely. The new rules disallow things like pre-ticked boxes on shopping sites, allows 14 days to send back an unwanted item and make it virtually impossible for hidden charges to remain hidden. For more info, have a look at the detail here.

By Natasha Hodgson

Enternships Community Manager

Published by

Enternships

Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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