Two employment provisions of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 came into force on 26 May 2015:
- the ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts and the power for the Secretary of State to introduce regulations in relation to zero hours contracts. Any clause in a zero hours contract will be unenforceable against the worker if it prohibits the worker from doing work or performing services under another contract or other arrangement, or prohibits this without the employer’s consent. (A zero hours contract is defined as a contract under which the worker undertakes to perform work/services conditionally on the employer requesting or requiring the worker to do so, where there is no certainty the employer will request or require work/services.)
Draft Regulations to tackle avoidance of the prohibition were published prior to the election (available here), but have not yet been passed. These provide protection against detriment for zero hours workers if they work for someone else, impose financial penalties for employers seeking to avoid the ban, and extend protection to low income workers. The regulations will presumably be finalised and brought into force shortly, as the ban itself does not provide any meaningful protection.
- amendment of the maximum penalty for breach of the national minimum wage to £20,000 per worker (rather than per employer).