Yesterday (1 October) is Common Commencement Date, whereupon the following new laws affecting businesses will come into force:

The HSE’s FFI scheme – Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs for time spent inspecting, investigating and taking enforcement action.

  •  Revocation of smoke-free signage rules – These Regulations revoke the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007 (‘the 2007 Regulations’) and replace the detailed requirements for no smoking signs prescribed by the 2007 Regulations with a requirement that at least one legible no-smoking sign must be displayed.
  •  Changes to mandatory auditing rules – New Regulations will mean small and medium sized companies will be able to opt out of auditing and reporting requirements depending on their size, turnover and number of employees. The changes will exempt up to 36,000 businesses in the UK from mandatory audits.
  • Staged implementation of the new pensions auto-enrolment scheme – certain employers must automatically enrol all eligible employees not already participating in a workplace pension scheme into the employer’s pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust pension scheme. The date of implementation depends on the number of employees in a business and PAYE codes.
  • Rise in the National Minimum Wage – The minimum wage for adults will rise by 11p to £6.19 an hour. The rate for 18-20 year olds will remain at £4.98 an hour and the rate for 16-17 year olds will remain at £3.68 an hour.
  • Wheelclamping ban on private land – Wheelclamping on private land becomes illegal in England and Wales today as new parking laws are introduced. You are now required by law to provide details of the driver of any vehicle wrongfully parked on private land.