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Date: 02 Dec 2008

Businesses are saving an estimated 418 million a year from the costs of dealing with employment law, new research has found.

Free advice and simple online tools have helped firms cut the time and money they spend on compliance. More than a million small firms have been contacted by the Department for Business in a campaign to tackle the administrative costs of dealing with six key areas of employment law.

The estimated savings are a substantial increase on previous expectations of 365 million saved by May 2010.

Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said:

"Our ambitious programme to cut the costs of regulation on business is already achieving positive results, but there is still more we can do.

"For example, new changes to dispute resolution that will cut costs further were approved by Parliament last month.

"Giving businesses free and clear advice cuts their costs because if they are getting good advice free from the Government they have to spend less on outside consultants. It also helps make sure workers' rights are respected.

"In the present economic climate we are focussed on doing everything we can to help business, without harming rights at work."

The impact of the Employment Guidance Programme, which started in 2005, was praised by an independent panel including the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce and Trades Union Congress, in particular its commitment to make a real difference for business on the ground.

Research firm ORC surveyed more than 1000 companies earlier this year. Their findings point to big cuts in the amount of money spent by business on administering:

* Maternity and paternity leave and pay

* Flexible working time applications

* Working time and 48-hour opt-out record keeping

* National Minimum Wage

The research also found that 74% of businesses found compliance easy, up from 51% in 2005. Just 8% still found compliance difficult.

A key part of the Employment Law Guidance Programme has been helping firms avoid unnecessary and costly over-compliance with regulation.

As well as contacting employers directly with advice and support, the programme has created new online tools and sample forms to help show employers what they need to do quickly and clearly. A direct mailing campaign has reached more than a million small businesses, including 700,000 contacted last month.

Notes to Editors

1. Popular sources of free information for businesses include, the Department for Business and ACAS.

2. The Employment Law Guidance Programme is part of cross-Government efforts to reduce the costs of regulation on business.

3. Departments and agencies across government have agreed targets to cut the cost to businesses of administering regulation by 2010. They will publish updated simplification plans later this month, showing the amount cut from business burdens and progress towards their 2010 targets.

4. The Employment Act, which gained Royal Assent last month, will introduce a new statutory ACAS code on dispute resolution, helping workers and businesses resolve complaints before needing to go to a tribunal.

5. The government has also given ACAS up to 37m more in its budget over the next three years to handle its increased role.

6. Examples of how individuals and businesses are benefiting from changes to regulation can be found at . The site also invites suggestions for what else can be done to reduce red tape.

About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-12-03 16:15:37 in Business Articles

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