The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published the first annual statement on changes to domestic employment law, including the introduction of common commencement dates.
The statement is the first step in adopting common start dates for changes to employment law in a bid to help businesses implement legislation.
From 2004, domestic employment laws will only be introduced on two days each year - 6 April and 1 October.
Gerry Sutcliffe, Employment Relations Minister said the plan would make it easier for employers to respond to legislation changes.
"The annual statement and harmonisation of commencement dates for changes in employment law and practice are a direct response by the DTI to meet concerns of employers and workers as identified by the Better Regulation Taskforce," he said.
"It is particularly good news for small businesses that don't have the resources to monitor employment law changes."
The two dates will not necessarily apply to European legislation, although the DTI is seeking to align them with the scheme.