Although he was trying to do a good thing, Lord Peter Mandelson has delayed guidance to business owners on new regulations.
Business owners were only alerted to a series of new regulations on Thursday (via BusinessLink), even though many of them come in this week and next.
As of April 6, employees will be entitled to request flexible working hours if they care for an adult who needs care, if they are a parent or guardian of a child younger than 17 or a disabled child younger than 19, and if they have been working at the company for at least 26 weeks.
(This issue has been much debated and although many business owners originally opposed the idea of flexible working hours, in recent years more have started to recognise the potential benefits.)
There will also be new penalties for employers who pay less than the minimum wage, increases in the statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay from £117.18 to £123.06 and the increase in statutory holiday from 24 to 28 days (including bank holidays) which comes in tomorrow.
Also, insolvency practitioners won’t need to advertise company insolvencies any more.
Ironically, Mandelson was trying to postpone the introduction of the new regulations until the economy started to recover, to minimise the amount of red tape business owners need to deal with on top of all their other woes.
But while he was busy lobbying his Cabinet peers for the postponement, the guidance on the regulations was delayed until a decision was made, meaning that the necessary guidance will now come only briefly before the regulations come in. (Assuming, of course, that nothing drastic happens today and all the postponements suddenly take effect, which seems pretty unlikely.)
What a pickle of irony. We salute him for trying, but, really, this has ended up as a bit of a mess.