SMEs uncertain about music licence obligations

Small businesses are uncertain about their legal obligations when playing music for commercial purposes and need clearer guidance to ensure they don’t break the law, according to the Forum of Private Business (FPB). Businesses which play music for commercial purposes risk prosecution for copyright infringement if they do not have the correct licence from the Performing Rights Society (PRS). There are currently more than 40 price tariffs on the PRS website with licence costs, depending on factors such as the size of a business and use of music. According to the PRS, a licence is necessary for any location or premises, outside of home, where music is played. This includes clubs and concert halls, discos and dentists’ waiting rooms, and trains and takeaways. Businesses can even fa... »

Employees may be Granted Right to Request Training

Businesses may be forced to consider employee requests for time-off for work-related training under new regulations which could be introduced by 2010. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has launched a consultation on the new laws, which would give employees the right to request time-off work for training. The entitlement would be available to all employees after 26 weeks with their employer. “We have still not persuaded every employer of the importance of skills,” said Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham. “A third of employers still don’t train their staff”. “We need to find new ways to bring the drive for skills into every workplace and to every worker. This is why we are consulting on a new ... »

Business Groups Divided over Interest Rate Cut

Small–business groups are divided about whether the Bank of England should cut interest rates – while some argue that a cut is needed to boost growth, others claim it is not possible because of rising inflation. The dispute follows the publication of a new survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which predicts that the rate of inflation is likely to exceed three per cent for the rest of 2008, peaking at 3.8 per cent in the third quarter. The CBI also forecasted that the UK economy would grow at the slowest rate for 17 years in 2009. “The high level of inflation in the short-term prevents the Bank of England from reducing rates for much of this year,” said CBI director general Richard Lambert. “But once the peak in inflation has passed, we believ... »

Business Groups Welcome Continued 48-Hour Week Opt-Out

Small-business groups have welcomed a ruling by the EU Employment Council to retain UK employers’ right to ask staff to work more than 48 hours a week, writes Tom Whitney Under the EU’s working time directive, employees are restricted to a maximum working week of 48 hours. However, an opt-out clause allows the UK to permit employees to work a longer week. The rules do not oblige employers to offer overtime or require staff to work it. The EU Employment Council ruling retains the UK’s 48-hour week opt-out, but restricts employees to working a 60 hour maximum working week, averaged out over three months so they can work longer hours in busy periods. This is a reduction from the current cap of 78 hours per week. Under the new rules, employers will not be able to ask workers ... »

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