DTI:  Employment Relations Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has set out new paternity leave proposals being developed by the Government, which are ‘designed to give working parents more choice in their caring’.

The consultation (closes 3 August 2007) sets out proposals on the administration that will give fathers the opportunity to choose to take up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave to care for their child if certain conditions are met, including the mother returning to work.

Although the term 'father' is commonly used when describing additional paternity leave & pay, it is the Government's intention to make additional paternity leave and pay also available to partners and civil partners of mothers and members of adopting couples who meet the eligibility criteria.

The Government proposes introducing this new provision by the end of this Parliament at the same time as extending maternity pay to 12 months.

The earliest date that Additional Paternity Leave and Pay will be implemented will be for babies due in April 2009.  However, this is not a firm date for introduction.
Press release ~ Work and Families consultation ~ Impact assessment ~ DTI – Work and Families ~ Work and Families Act ~ Working Families ~ The Effect of Fatherhood on Men’s Patterns of Employment ~ Acas – Sexual orientation and the workplace

Cabinet Office:  The Government has made a package of announcements that they claim will ‘free up honest businesses from red tape and crack down on the rogue businesses that undermine those who play by the rules’.


The government claims that the package involves no new paperwork or hassle for business and includes:

Press release ~ Better Regulation Executive ~ Regulatory Sanctions and Enforcement Bill ~ Compliance Code ~ Hampton Report – ‘Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement’ ~ Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) ~ Federation of Small Businesses ~ British Chambers of Commerce

DfES:  Education Secretary Alan Johnson has launched a young people's consultation (closes 14 June 2007) on whether the education & training ‘leaving age’ should be increased to 18.  It is in the format of a magazine & questionnaire and it aims to canvas young people's views about raising the leaving age proposals.

The government's proposals were set out for public consultation in the Green Paper; Raising Expectations published 22 March 2007.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Green Paper, Raising Expectations ~ Education Maintenance Allowance ~ Get set for life website ~ Lord Leitch's report on skills ~ Learning and Skills Council ~ LSC - Apprenticeships ~ Disengagement from secondary education: a story retold (scroll down) ~ Effective entry to work-based learning ~ DfES White Paper: Skills Getting on in business, getting on at work  ~ White Paper: 14-19 Education and Skills ~ Train to Gain ~ Statements of Content for Diplomas ~ DfES 14 – 19 Gateway ~ Teachernet E2E ~ Vocational ladders or crazy paving?

Home Office:  The Home Office has begun a drive against illegal working by talking & consulting (closes 7 August 2007) with industry on the implementation of new legislation designed to crackdown on bogus employees. 

The new rules will hopefully see rogue employers face a prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine if found knowingly employing illegal workers.  Civil penalties will also be levied on companies which have been negligent in carrying out checks on workers.  The level at which these fines will be set and how they will be imposed is now the subject of a consultation.

The new measures, which will take effect early in 2008, are part of the Home Office's just launched Illegal Working Action Plan, co-ordinated through the new Border and Immigration Agency (BIA).  The Action Plan includes a new pilot project to help British businesses check migrants identity & right to work.
Press release ~ Prevention of Illegal Working - Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006: Consultation on the implementation of new powers to prevent illegal migrant working in the UK ~ Law & Policy ~ Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 ~ Border and Visa Strategy ~ Enforcement Strategy ~ On-line employer guide to employing migrant workers ~ Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) ~ Identity and Passport Service (IPS) ~ UK Borders BillRecruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) ~

Ofwat:  Competition in the water industry took a step forward last week when Ofwat announced a proposal to create the first new water & sewerage company to serve domestic customers since privatisation 18 years ago.

Ofwat is proposing to grant an `inset appointment' to allow Scottish and Southern Energy Water (SSEW) to supply water & sewerage services to a 935 home development near the Wiltshire city of Salisbury.  The development is in Wessex Water's current area of supply and Ofwat is now asking for views (by 15 June 2007) on its proposal to grant an appointment.
Press release ~ Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) ~ Proposal ~ Copy of public notice

HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs has published two more consultation papers (closes 10 August 2007), as part of its work to modernise its powers, deterrents and the accompanying safeguards.  The first paper considers options for a new approach to compliance checks, while the second asks for views on the adequacy & effectiveness of current safeguards for taxpayers.

Currently, HMRC relies on provisions inherited from its predecessor Departments - the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise - which evolved over a considerable period of time, and involve substantial differences between different areas and taxes.
Press release ~ Modernising powers, deterrents and safeguards: A new approach to compliance checks ~ Modernising powers, deterrents and safeguards: Safeguards for Taxpayers