The Deregulation Act 2015 has implications for business and personal life, all with the aim of reducing a legislative ‘burden’.
The Act covers a wide range of issues and is a lengthy bedtime read. Also, whilst it applies to the whole of the UK, even then, you have to pay attention to which country is actually impacted, remembering that it covers a lot of areas that are actually devolved functions. There are a few issues in there that impact employers:
Power of Employment Tribunals
This applies in Great Britain only, as it affects the Equality Act 2010 (which does not apply in Northern Ireland).
Currently, if a discrimination case is upheld, the Equality Act allows an Employment Tribunal to make recommendations that an employer should take to reduce the effect of discrimination on any person in the workplace. Simply, from 01 October 2015, a Tribunal will no longer have this power. They will only be allowed to make recommendations aimed at reducing the impact of discrimination on the claimant that bought the case.
This limiting of powers has the effect of returning Employment Tribunals to the position that they were in before the Equality Act came into force in October 2010.
The Self-Employed and Health and Safety
This applies in Great Britain only, as it affects the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (which does not apply in Northern Ireland).
Essentially, from 26 March 2015, the self-employed are now exempted from health and safety legislation at the workplace where their activity of work only affects the self-employed individual. Basically, they have to ensure their own health and safety.
If others are affected by their activity, the self-employed worker will continue to have health and safety obligations under the 1974 Act.
Turban-Wearing Sikhs and Health and Safety
This applies UK-wide, as the 2015 Act makes changes to both the Employment Act 1989 in Great Britain and the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 in Northern Ireland.
From 01 October 2015, the current exemption for turban-wearing Sikhs from wearing a safety helmet on construction sites has been extended. The exemption now applies to the wearing of safety helmets in workplaces, not just construction sites.
However, the exemption does not apply where the Sikh is working or training to work in a role that involves providing any level or urgent response to things such as fire or hazardous situations. Further, the exemption does not apply if the individual is taking part in any form of military operation for Her Majesty’s Forces.
As I indicated above, the Deregulation Act 2015 cuts red tape in a number of areas. This provides for the removal or reduction of perceived burdens on employers, businesses (private and public), individuals and the taxpayer.