Another Bill has been published, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which makes changes to employment law. A number of new provisions are proposing to be introduced for employers and employment lawyers to get to grips with next.
Firstly, the Bill defines a zero hours contracts and renders any clause which tried to stop the worker working for someone else (exclusivity clause) void meaning that employers will not be able to restrict workers work on the days they do not work for them.
Secondly, a new system of enforcing employment tribunal awards through an enforcement officer. This is distinct from the new financial penalties introduced against employers. In this case, an enforcement officer will give a warning if the Tribunal award is unpaid for 28 days and if it is not then paid, the enforcement officer will issue a penalty notice. This will be on top of any award of the Tribunal and be a penalty of 50% of the amount outstanding between £100 and £5,000. If the original award and the penalty are then paid within 14 days the employer can pay a reduced penalty of 50%. The penalty is not paid to the employee but to the Secretary of State and is in addition to any interest accruing on the award. This has been introduced to try and increase the payment of Tribunal awards.
Another provision relates to the ability of the Treasury to claw back a termination payment in public sector cases in full or in part. Again this is in response to some headlines whereby senior employees in the public sector receive large termination payments and then their management or conduct is later called into question. More details will follow in due course.
Lastly of interest, are some amendments to the Tribunal rules which limit the number of postponements available to a party and impose an obligation on the Tribunal to consider making a costs award if the postponement application is a late one. The definition of “late” will be determined at a later date.
I will keep you up to date as the Bill progresses through Parliament so watch this space to see if all the proposed clauses make it onto the statute books.