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Employment Law Update - January 2013 - Part 2

Employee shareholder status: CGT exemption draft legislation and impact assessment published

On 11 December 2012, the government published a draft clause to be included in the Finance Bill 2013, to enact the capital gains tax (CGT) exemption for shares acquired by an individual in consideration of agreeing to adopt the proposed "employee shareholder" status (originally named "employee owner" status). The CGT exemption is expected to apply to shares acquired on or after 6 April 2013. The draft legislation is open for comment until 6 February 2013.

The government has also published an impact assessment on clause 23 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which will bring into force the new employee shareholder status. Page 9 of the impact assessment provides a useful table summarising which employment rights will be given up and which will be retained by those taking up the new employee shareholder status.

In the Autumn Statement, George Osborne said that the cost of the policy was likely to be negligible in 2015-16, rising to £80m by 2017-18. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that the new scheme may cost the Treasury £1 billion a year in lost revenues.

Sources: HMRC: Employee shareholder status: capital gains tax exemption: draft legislation and tax information and impact note,Growth and Infrastructure Bill Clause 23: impact assessment, December 2012 and Warning on cost of "shares for rights", Financial Times, 10 December 2012.

Government announces key dates for employment legislation to come into force in 2013

The government's Fifth Statement of New Regulation has been published. It records the government's progress in reducing the regulatory burdens on business by cutting "red tape" and sets out the dates on which the government intends to bring into force some key employment legislation in 2013, including the new employment tribunal rules and certain provisions in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-2013.

Employee shareholder (employee owner) status: third reading amendments

Government amendments to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill provisions implementing the new employee shareholder employment status were approved by the House of Commons on 17 December 2012 (at the Bill's report stage and third reading). These amendments include:

  • Restricting the right of employee shareholders returning from parental leave to make a formal request for flexible working to the period of 14 days beginning with their return. (Other employee shareholders will not have this right at all.)
  • A power to make secondary legislation to regulate the terms on which companies can buy back employee shareholder shares when employee shareholders change status or leave.
  • Protections from dismissal or other detriment for existing employees who refuse to become employee shareholders.

Apprenticeship agreements: amendments to minimum wage and fixed-term employees regulations

The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (Consequential Amendments to Subordinate Legislation) (England and Wales) Order 2012 (SI 2012/3112) was laid before Parliament on 18 December 2012 and comes into force on 9 January 2013. The order amends two regulations.

Commission on a Bill of Rights publishes report: The Choice Before Us

On 18 December 2012, The Commission on a Bill of Rights published its report, A UK Bill of Rights? The Choice Before Us. The report comprises two volumes and is based on the Commission's terms of reference.

A majority of the Commission supported the introduction of a UK Bill of Rights, with two Commissioners arguing that the Human Rights Act 1998 in its current form was fit for purpose and did not need to be replaced.

For more information on these regulations, including the difficulties that employers may face following their implementation, please contact us via our website or call us on 0141 611 9785

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