Tsunami of red tape is about to hit businesses

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BUSINESSES are bracing themselves for a tsumani of red tape due to hit them on Saturday.

Laws abolishing the default retirement age, establishing new rights for agency workers and an uprating of the National Minimum Wage are coming into effect.

It’s what is known as a common commencement date, when new regulations come into force on the same day.

Businesses won’t be able to use age as a reason for making someone redundant as all employees are given the right to keep working.

Instead, employers will have to discuss options with their staff or be ready to make them redundant for other lawful reasons.

Temporary workers who are on the books of employment agencies will have to receive many of the same pay and employment benefits as full-time staff under the new Agency Workers Regulations (AWR).

The AWR is inspired by Europe and any agency supplied worker who has carried out the same job for more than 12 weeks will have to receive the same pay and many of the conditions as comparable full time employees.

Tilly Davis, a consultant at Select Appointments, in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, told West Herts Business Breakfast on Thursday that companies need to be aware of the change in the law.

Fines of £5,000 and at least two weeks wages for each employee are on the cards for companies that flout it.

Speaking at the Bobsleigh Hotel, Bovingdon, she said only ‘dodgy companies’ had anything to fear – but warned agency fees are likely to rise, adding to costs.

Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Businesses, said red tape was hindering economic growth by adding to costs.

He said: “Small firms simply do not have internal resources dedicated to complying with regulations, so either the business owner or a key senior manager is forced to devote a large amount of time to this task or they have to pay for an outside consultant, which can be extremely expensive.”