Provisions in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 that render exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts unenforceable come into force today (26 May). Various other employment measures have also been brought into force, including an increase in the maximum financial penalty for underpayment of the national minimum wage to £20,000 per worker.
The Act received Royal Assent on 26 March and the relevant provisions have now been brought into force by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Commencement No.1) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/1329. S.153 of the SBEE Act inserts Ss.27A and 27B into the Employment Rights Act 1996. New S.27A ERA provides that any provision of a zero-hours contract which prohibits the worker from doing work or performing services under another contract or under any other arrangement, or prohibits him or her from doing so without the employer’s consent, is unenforceable against the worker.
New S.27B ERA creates a power for the Government to make further provision to prevent zero-hours workers being restricted in their ability to work for other employers. When the Coalition Government published its response to the consultation on the exclusivity ban in March 2015 it confirmed that it would introduce secondary legislation to create a new protection from detriment for zero-hours contract workers who take jobs under other contracts, and establish a minimum income level below which exclusivity clauses will be unenforceable. Draft regulations were included in the response document. However, no such legislation has yet been brought into force and so there are, at present, no anti-avoidance measures attached to the new provisions.
Link to Regulations: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1329/regulation/2/made