Small Firms can cut red tape with the help of the Forum of Private Businesses Guide

The Forum of Private Business offers advice on law changes that affect owner-managed companies, with the aim of helping small firms to avoid “red tape”.

October saw the Common Commencement Date, where law changes affecting small businesses came into effect.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has published a reference guide that can help small business owners identify changes with ease, as well as upcoming events.

FPB business adviser Jo Eccles has looked at several important changes of which small business owners will need to be aware, including fathers’ right to time of antenatal appointments: the Children and Families Act allows fathers-to-be, and partners of pregnant women, to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the expectant mother.

Additionally, there have been changes to the National Minimum Wage: with maximum penalties for non-payment of up to £20,000 and the possibility of being publicly named and shamed it is worth making a note of these changes.

The rates as of 1 October will be: 21 years and over – £6.50 per hour; 18-20 years – £5.13 per hour; 16-17 years – £3.79 per hour; and Apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour.

The next big law change that will come into effect in the next few months is shared parental leave.

However, Ms. Eccles has stated that this only affects parents of children born of matched for adoption on or after April 5th 2014:

“It is designed to allow parents to share care for the child in the first year from the date of the child’s birth.

“In essence, both parents will be able to take shared parental leave and claim shared parental pay after the compulsory two-week maternity leave period.

“Before taking a block of leave (an employee can make up to three requests to take leave), an employee will have to provide the employer with eight weeks’ notice.”

Ms. Eccles added:

“The scheme will also provide each employee taking shared parental leave with 20 KIT style days. Further, provided that the employee has not taken more than 26 weeks shared parental leave, he/she will retain the right to return to the same job.”

More changes to food labelling regulations will be introduced towards the end of 2014.

“From December 13, restaurants, delis and other sellers of unpackaged food will have to ensure that all consumers are given comprehensive ingredient listing information to make it easier for people with food allergies to identify ingredients they need to avoid.

“If in doubt about any law changes or employment law issues it is a good idea to get expert advice.”


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Words: Peter Cribley

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