The government has announced plans to strengthen the UK’s business environment

The Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced a series of new measures to back businesses and entrepreneurs, support workers and ensure every part of the country benefits from the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

The announcements build on the government’s record of delivering right across the Industrial Strategy – from record levels of investment in research and development, the biggest transformation of technical education and retraining in a decade to the fastest growth in infrastructure in the G7.

The new measures include:

Tipping

The government has announced plans to ensure that tips left for workers will go to them in full.

While most employers act in good faith, in some sectors evidence points towards poor tipping practices, including excessive deductions being made from tips left by customers.

New legislation, to be introduced at the earliest opportunity, will set out that tips must go to the workers providing the service.

Unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s and wages are rising. This legislation will ensure workers get the tips they deserve and give consumers reassurance that the money they leave in good faith to reward good service is going to the staff, as they intended – ensuring that hard work is rewarded.

More protection for small businesses

A commitment to end the unfair treatment of small businesses by companies who abuse their position by paying late for products and services.

The government will strengthen the Prompt Payment Code with a new tough and transparent compliance regime. A call for evidence will be published later this week which will consider the best way to ensure company boards put in place responsible payment practices throughout their supply chain, including whether all company boards should give one of their non-executive directors specific responsibilities for the company’s prompt payment performance.

The Small Business Commissioner will join the Prompt Payment Code’s Compliance Board to support his role in tackling late payment.

Proposals to help parents and carers in the workforce

Working flexibly helps people to balance their work and home lives and is vital in creating an inclusive economy where those with caring responsibilities can continue working. It also gives employers access to a wider pool of talent and enables better matching of applicants and jobs.

While many companies are increasingly embracing flexible working and the benefits it brings, some employees face barriers in raising this issue with their employers.

The government will consider creating a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly, and make that clear when advertising.

Greater transparency on parental pay

The government will consult on requiring employers with more than 250 staff to publish their parental leave and pay policies, so job applicants can make informed decisions about whether they can combine the role with caring for their family.

Statutory entitlements to leave and pay for new parents are key to this vision for ‘good work’ and to the participation and progression of parents, especially mothers, in the labour market.

While many employers go further than the legal minimum for parental leave and pay, very few publish their policies openly. Applicants must ask prospective employers what the position is which many are reluctant to do for fear of discrimination.

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