The Bill was published last week. The headline news is the move to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts but it also includes other employment measures. The main proposals are:

  • Whistleblowing - prescribed bodies will have to report annually on the disclosures they receive and maintain the confidentiality obligations of prescribed persons.
  • Employment tribunals - employers who fail to pay tribunal awards will have to pay a penalty of 50% of the outstanding amount, subject to a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000. Ministers will be able to limit the number of postponement applications a party can make. Judges will be required to consider making a costs order where a late postponement application is made.
  • National minimum wage - the maximum penalty (£20,000) for failing to pay the NMW will apply on a per worker basis, rather than per notice of underpayment.
  • Zero hours contracts - exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts will be invalid and unenforceable. BIS will consult further to assess if more can be done to prevent rogue employers from avoiding  the rules (e.g. by issuing one hour fixed contracts). A best practice code of conduct will be developed for employers who wish to use zero hours contracts and improved guidance will be made available.
  • Public sector exit payments - the Treasury will be able to make regulations requiring public sector employees and office holders who are made redundant to repay their payments if they return to the same part of the public sector within 12 months as an employee, consultant or office-holder.

A consultation has been launched, which closes on 17 September.