This month in-house lawyers should keep an eye on developments in corporate reporting, changes to the UK Immigration Rules, guidance on reducing the spread of respiratory infections (including COVID-19) in the workplace, and consultations on improving mental health and wellbeing.
The International Sustainability Standards Board has published exposure drafts of two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards: IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures. The standards would require a company to centre its disclosures on the consideration of the governance, strategy and risk management of its business, and the metrics and targets it uses to measure, monitor and manage its significant sustainability or climate-related risks and opportunities. The consultation on the exposure drafts closes on 29 July 2022.
UK Immigration Rules
The government has announced changes to the UK Immigration Rules. Key changes that are likely to affect businesses include the introduction of several new entry routes, including the:
- Global Business Mobility route.
- High Potential Individual route.
- Scale-up route.
- Representative of an Overseas Business route.
- Skilled Worker route.
Some of these changes were implemented on 6 April, while others will come into force in May and August.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published guidance for employers and workforce managers in England on reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace. This guidance replaces the working safely guidance and supplements the new public health guidance also issued by the UKHSA on 1 April.
Mental health and wellbeing
The government has published a discussion paper and call for evidence on improving mental health and wellbeing, which includes the development of a ten-year plan to reduce the prevalence, incidence and recurrence of mental ill-health. The discussion paper suggests compassionate employers are needed, who will protect and promote positive mental wellbeing by understanding and meeting physical and mental needs in the workplace. The consultation is open to all, and responses will be collected through an online survey until 11.45 pm on 5 July.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is also consulting on proposed changes to its rules that would reinforce its powers to deal with risks to clients and the public when these stem from a poor work culture in law firms. The consultation runs until 27 May.
HM Treasury has launched the independent UK Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT), which aims to develop a gold standard for climate transition plans (also known as net zero transition plans) that certain financial institutions and listed companies will be expected to publish in 2023. The TPT has a two-year mandate and brings together leaders from industry, academia and the regulators.
The new Director of Labour Market Enforcement, Margaret Beels OBE, has issued a call for evidence on the labour market enforcement strategy for 2023 to 2024. The director is seeking stakeholder evidence on emerging issues around compliance and enforcement in the UK labour market. The document also seeks views on newer models of employment, including the use of umbrella companies and joint employment contracts. The call for evidence will remain open for responses until 31 May.
A government official has reportedly indicated that the Employment Bill will likely be excluded from the Queen’s speech on 10 May. The Bill was first proposed in December 2019 but has been repeatedly delayed. Since 2019, many of the changes that are due to be included in the Bill have become increasingly important, such as the:
- Right to request flexible working from day one.
- Right to carers’ leave.
- Extension of redundancy protection for women and new parents.
- Creation of a single enforcement body for employment rights.
Dates for your diary
ICO survey on experiences of engaging with the UK’s information rights and data privacy regulator ends.
FCA proposed changes to electronic format for annual financial reporting come into effect.
Deadline for responses to CMA consultation on draft guidance to accompany the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order.
CMA consultation on proposed recommendations on retained Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations closes.
Private Members’ Bills having second readings on this date include:
- Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill.
- Miscarriage Leave Bill.
- Flexible Working Bill.
- Gender Pay Gap Bill.
- Health and Safety at Work Bill.
- Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill.
European Commission consultation on standard essential patents closes.
Feedback period on European Commission Proposal for a Regulation on harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data ends.
Closing date of the online sales tax consultation.
Deadline for responses to European Commission call for evidence on impact assessment for the new Cyber Resilience Act.
Deadline for member states to apply measures in compliance with the Enforcement and Modernisation Directive.
Expiry date of Regulation 330/2010, the current vertical agreements block exemption regulation.
European Patent Office’s pilot project for conducting oral proceedings in opposition proceedings by videoconference extended until this date.