The government’s new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has been published. Its headline employment law measure is to make any clause in a zero hours contract of employment that purports to stop the worker working for anyone else void.
There will also be measures to prevent employers getting round this ban by, for example, guaranteeing the employee one hour’s work per week.
Other employment law measures in the Bill include:
- A stricter regime for enforcing employment tribunal awards, with a financial penalty being payable to the Exchequer if the award remains unpaid after an ‘enforcement notice’ has been issued.
- The treasury is to be given the power to require repayment in full or part of a termination payment paid to a public sector employee.
The ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts can be seen as a more proportionate response to the problems identified with the operation of these contracts than the highly publicised suggestions that zero hours contracts should be banned altogether. The concept of ‘casual’ employment does work well for many employers and employees alike and disallowing that type of relationship would appear to be inconsistent with the widespread consensus that working patterns require to be more flexible in the modern world.
You can read the government’s factsheet on the new employment law measures in the Bill here.