European Commission to simplify EU legislation

The European Commission has compiled a list of the top 30 European Union (EU) regulations it wishes to simplify, and in some cases withdraw, with the aim of making life easier for employers and employees, as well as fostering economic growth.

Among those it is looking to withdraw is the proposed plan to require employers to offer 20 weeks’ maternity leave on full pay. It is also looking to simplify the Working Time Directive, which has created issues for employers around working hours and holiday pay.

The exercise is part of the commission’s Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (Refit). 

Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission, said: “Europe is there to help find solutions to the big challenges we are collectively facing.

“However, to be effective, we need to make sure we concentrate on the right priorities and have the right dose of regulation. Not everything that is good is good at European level. Let’s think twice whether, when and where we need to act at European level.”

Geoffrey Mead, employment law partner at law firm Eversheds, said: “The fact that a group of UK business leaders has compiled this list of the top 30 EU regulations it wishes to scrap will no doubt be music to the ears of the current UK government, which has openly expressed concern over what it sees as unnecessary European regulation and legal intervention in some areas.

“The move will also be welcomed by many employers as a positive step to reducing the numerous existing and potential European legislative burdens, particularly on employment law.”