Unit 29-LO4 Discuss the implications of regulation and legislation on a small business or social enterprise

Course: Pearson BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals in Business

Regulation and legislation are important aspects of any small business. Ultimately, companies always have to abide by the law, which for most businesses means making sure that potential customers are treated fairly and in accordance with all relevant regulations.

Oftentimes, there is a direct correlation between how well a company complies with regulation and legislation on an individual level and financial return on investment (ROI).

If a company provides excellent consumer service, maintains transparent pricing structures, conducts customer surveys regularly as part of its data analytics program, limits involvement in controversial or sensitive materials such as tobacco products or firearms-related materials where applicable laws prohibit participation in those markets altogether without prior licensing approval from the regulating authority-that company is more likely to create increased market share and a larger client base.

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The legal and regulatory issues applicable to a small business vary by country and profession. We highly recommend consulting an attorney who is familiar with your particular situation for more thorough guidance.

However, The UK’s Small Business Council has a list of the 5 most common legal situations faced by small businesses in their To-Do List article. These are recordkeeping, tax, employment, health and safety, insurance, data protection, cybersecurity.

Record Keeping

Internal record keeping must be carried out responsibly, outlining all financial transactions in an accurate manner. Reporting of such records will differ depending on the size and type of business. Smaller companies may report to a local accountancy professional; larger businesses might have their own internal team that reviews every transaction in order to calculate taxes and ensure the company’s long-term viability.

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Tax and Employment Law

Businesses need to stay up-to-date with current tax laws so as not to lose ground on competitiveness for smaller firms or penalties for larger corporations. Every industry is different, which means hiring staff can be a complex task often requiring legal advice from specialist solicitors in that field. A failure to follow employment law regarding pay, age, and other factors can lead to fines or the loss of valuable workers.

Health and Safety Law

Having relevant health and safety laws in place is essential for protecting the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. Logistical problems such as incorrect measurements or accounting errors are often overlooked by businesses, yet can be extremely costly in terms of potential fines from government bodies. Furthermore, a failure to follow these rules could also lead to more serious injuries including death.

Any business that has employees needs to adhere to employment law but smaller companies may not have access to extra resources like dedicated legal teams or specialist equipment needed by larger firms. Ultimately, all businesses need to ensure they are following the correct laws and regulations set out by governing bodies so as not to suffer any financial or reputational loss as a result of their decisions.

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Examples of regulatory issues that may apply to different business types, different products or services, and different localities such as environmental and waste regulations, professional practice guidelines, and local planning restrictions

I think it all depends on what your company does and is regulated by, but I’m sure there are plenty of regulatory issues that may apply to different types of businesses.

For example, if you are a construction company the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) probably governs what type of equipment you can use in specific environments or for specific projects. When OSHA has issued an Alert Letter, it is cautioning both employers and employees about violations they have observed at a worksite setting related to their safety standards. It is always important when working in fields like these where safety is stressed as priority number one to talk with someone familiar with the kind of work that you are doing in case new legislation imposes changes that will affect your business in the future.

The goods and services which are most heavily regulated at a federal level but not always for the same reasons include food items (particularly around kosher or halal dietary guidelines), tobacco products including cigarettes and cigars, airlines, child abduction services, and pornography production. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides an example of such regulation.

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These are just some examples of regulatory issues that may apply to different products or services. Particularly in today’s global economy where trade can happen seamlessly across borders with little understanding about where products come from or follow through to who sells them, regulations like these protect consumers by limiting unsafe practices seen in less developed countries – and they protect producers by signaling what’s appropriate in certain markets.

Environmental regulations and municipal waste statutes may play a local role in the regulation of chemical product sales. Below are just some examples of these local environmental protections:

California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, CA Health & Safety Code § 25249.6, provides authority for California communities to regulate the sale or distribution within the community by an outside seller or distributor of any substance used in the manufacture of plastic food containers made from polycarbonate material that may lead to an adverse human health effect such as cancer, reproductive toxicity, neurological impairment, endocrine disruption or birth defects.

The potential sources of information to determine applicable regulation.

Local manufacturing regulations may be determined using the following sources:  State, Regional, and Local Government Websites.

Environmental regulatory agencies typically make information available on their websites. Local government websites are also a good source of information about local environmental regulations.

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For example, San Francisco’s Environmental Protection Agency (EEPA) maintains an extensive website that contains information regarding numerous environmental laws that apply to businesses within the City and County of San Francisco.

California State Environmental Review. The CEQA Guidelines provide criteria for determining whether or not projects require review by any state agency under CEQA. The public is allowed to start projects without prior approval from any state agency if it can demonstrate that the project fits within one of several “categorical exclusions”.

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