The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007 have now been published; together with explanatory notes. These will amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to increase the statutory annual holiday entitlement from 4 weeks to 5.6 weeks. The increase will take effect in two stages: workers will become eligible for the first additional 0.8 weeks from 1 October 2007 (four days for full-time employees) and the second 0.8 weeks from 1 April 2009 (making a total of eight additional days for full-time employees working a standard five-day week). Although the additional days are intended to represent the 8 bank holidays, there is nothing in the Regulations stipulating that statutory leave must be taken on bank holidays. However, if an employer allows its employees to take off bank holidays as paid leave, these will count towards the statutory entitlement to annual leave. Care should be taken with employment contracts which provide for a right to take "public holidays plus statutory annual leave" as from 1 October, this could give rise to a right to 24 days' leave in addition to the 8 bank holidays! Contracts may need to be varied to reflect this change. (See herewww.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20072079_en.pdf). The Government has published an online calculator to make it simpler to calculate workers' holiday entitlement in the years in which the changes take effect. See here. www.dti.gov.uk/employment/holidays/page40455.html

Employment Simplification Bill – this Bill is intended to "simplify, clarify and build a stronger enforcement regime for key aspects of employment law". According to the draft legislative programme, it will: Implement the Gibbons review of workplace dispute resolution and repeal the statutory dispute resolution procedures. Strengthen the enforcement of employment agency standards. Amend the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 to enable trade unions to expel members on the basis of their membership of a political party. Simplify and strengthen the enforcement regime for the National Minimum Wage (NMW). See here. www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/reports/governance/governance.pdf

Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 - this Act contains provisions dealing with the enforcement of tribunal awards, tribunal procedure and judicial mediation of tribunal claims. It received Royal Assent on 19 July 2007 and the commencement date is not yet known.

A Practitioner's Guide to Directors' Duties and Responsibilities (third edition), published by City & Financial Publishing - John Farr and Jemima Coleman contributed a chapter on Directors' Service Contracts and Remuneration to this Practitioner's Guide which has been fully updated in light of the Companies Act 2006. Copies can be obtained from here. www.cityandfinancial.com/publications/index.asp