Contracts, whistleblowers and wages

A review of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Employment Act

Whether you’re an individual practitioner or a practice owner, you may be interested in a number of key employment law provisions under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 that have recently been brought into force.

Ban on 'exclusivity clauses' in zero hour contracts

This legislation makes clauses in zero hours contracts that prohibit workers from carrying out work for other employers, or from doing so without their employer’s consent, unenforceable. This allows individuals the freedom to take other work and means workers are no longer limited to one specific employer, where there is no certainty of work. There is also a power for the government to make further regulations in relation to these contracts in the future.

Treatment of whistle blowers in the NHS

The Secretary of State is empowered to make regulations preventing NHS employers discriminating against an applicant on the grounds that they are a whistle blower by refusing an application or treating an applicant less favourably. This is particularly important because of the NHS’s near monopoly on health services and limited alternative employment options.

National minimum wage

The maximum penalty for breach of the national minimum wage has been increased to £20,000 in respect of each worker.

Further provisions under this Act also expected to come into force in the future:

  • Regulations requiring employers with at least 250 employees to publish information about their gender pay gap
  • Financial penalties for unpaid tribunal awards
  • Annual reporting of whistleblowing disclosures for prescribed persons
  • Repayment of public sector exit payments in specific circumstances

The full legislation can be read here.

If you have any queries, please contact the AOP legal team at [email protected].