Employment Law Update - Quick Fire January 2016

Published: 27/01/2016

Remedies for zero-hours workers

New regulations came into force on 11 January 2016, providing zero-hours workers with a remedy in relation to the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts.

Such clauses were rendered unenforceable with effect from 26 May 2015, but until now workers could not pursue any remedy if their employer continued to rely on contractual exclusivity clauses and prevented the individual from accepting work from another employer.

Under the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, zero hours employees now have the right not to be unfairly dismissed if they do not comply with an exclusivity clause. There is no requirement for a minimum period of service to bring an unfair dismissal claim. Both workers and employees also have the right not to be subjected to any detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause.

Acas report: Workplace Trends 2016

Acas has published a new report: Workplace Trends of 2016.

The report features industry experts, including Francis O’Grady (General Secretary of the TUC) and Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber commenting on key workplace trends, including: leadership, improving productivity, communication and tackling bullying at work.

A copy of the report is available on the Acas website.

Financial penalties for employers

The Government has indicated that it intends to bring in force section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 in April 2016.

This provision will allow financial penalties to be imposed on employers who fail to pay an employment tribunal or settlement award to an employee. According to a BIS survey carried out in 2013, over one third of awards remained completely unpaid, with only around half of successful claimants paid without having to resort to enforcement action.

Once this provision takes effect, an enforcement officer will be able to issue a warning notice to the employer, followed by a penalty notice if the payment remains unpaid. The penalty will be 50% of the unpaid amount, subject to a minimum of £500 and maximum of £5,000, reduced by 50% if both the unpaid award and the penalty are paid within 14 days.

The content of this article is for general information only. For further information regarding zero-hours workers, the ACAS report or financial penalties for employers , please contact a member of Birketts' employment team. Law covered as at January 2016.

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