The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued the ‘Fifth Statement of New Regulations’ (the “Statement”), which provides details of regulatory reforms and implementation dates for 2013.

Whilst the Statement covers regulatory reforms from those governing wild animals in travelling circuses to the deregulation of the Code of Practice for Ice-Cream Van Chimes, a raft of changes relevant to employers will take place in March and April 2013.

March 2013 changes -

- An increase in the number of weeks of parental leave from 13 to 18 weeks per parent per child and an extension of the right to request flexible leave to employed agency workers on return from parental leave (Revised Parental Leave Directive (2010/18/EU)).

- Removal of liability on employers for harassment of their employees by third parties such as customers (Equality Act 2010: section 40 (2)-(4)).

- Removal of the obligation on an employer to respond to requests “from persons that have a potential harassment case” (Equality Act 2010: section 138). It is assumed that this is a reference to the planned abolition of discrimination questionnaires as proposed under clause 58 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012 2013.

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