Skip to content

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill published

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has now been published and presented to Parliament.  From an employment law perspective, it includes measures to improve the employment tribunal system, as well as provisions on various non-employment matters.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill will improve the employment tribunal system by encouraging parties to come together to settle their dispute before an employment tribunal claim is lodged, through ACAS early conciliation and greater use of settlement agreements. It will also make the determination of less complex disputes quicker and cheaper for employers and employees alike, through a new ‘Rapid Resolution’ scheme.  Taking away the fear of employment tribunals will, according to the Government, give business more confidence to take on new staff.

The name of ‘compromise agreements’ is being changed to ‘settlement agreements’ to help improve understanding of their purpose.  This is part of a broader package to simplify and increase the use of such agreements to resolve workplace disputes, particularly for small businesses, without the need for an employment tribunal. The Government believes ‘settlement’ more accurately describes an agreement that is about delivering a satisfactory solution for both parties.  The legislation on ‘Rapid Resolution’ will allow legal officers to determine prescribed employment tribunal claims.  This will resolve more straightforward employment disputes – such as holiday pay – quickly and at less cost to both parties.

Generally, the Bill will also simplify regulation by reducing inspection burdens on businesses of all sizes and increasing SME access to reliable, consistent advice on complying with regulations in areas such as trading standards, health and safety and environmental health, ensuring powers to put a time limit on new regulations via ‘sunset clauses’ and repealing some unnecessary regulations.  The Bill includes some of the first repeals to be implemented from the Red Tape Challenge.  Overall, of the 1,500 regulations where Ministers have already made decisions, the Government has committed to scrap or improve over 50%.

The Bill now begins its passage through both Houses of Parliament.

Back To Top