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April 2012 regulation changes

Most new laws affecting businesses come into force on one of two common commencement dates (CCDs) each year - 6 April and 1 October. CCDs enable you to prepare your business for the introduction of new, amended or reduced requirements.


The qualifying period for unfair dismissal is to be extended from one year to two. An employee must in future have two years' service before they have the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

A new Apprenticeships Agreement in England and Wales will allow checks to be made on the employment status of all apprentices and provide a common approach using existing employment law.


Contracting-out for defined contribution pension schemes will be abolished. Employers who sponsored such schemes will therefore no longer need to contract out of the additional state pension.

Health and safety

The period when an injury to a person at work must be reported to the enforcing authority will be extended from over three days to over seven days.

Planning permission

Businesses will have the right to install certain types of microgeneration technologies in non-domestic premises without the need for planning permission from the Local Authority.


It will no longer be legal to display tobacco products in shops, though businesses with fewer than 10 employees will have until April 2015 to comply. The definition of "large shop" is exceeding 280 sq m, so by that definition, the businesses that don't have to comply until 2015 are those whose premises do not exceed 280 sq m.

Published: 1.5.2012