The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act
The Small Business, Enterprise
and Employment Act 2015 (SBEEA 2015) was announced in the Queen's
speech in 2014. The proposed Act was then introduced as a
Government Bill to the House of Commons. The most notable
area of legislative reform proposed by the Act and indeed, the most
publicised, was the provisions in relation to a ban on exclusivity
in zero hours contracts.
The purpose, however, of the
Act was to cover a number of areas of legislative reform with a
stated intention to reduce the barriers that could hinder ability
of small business to innovate, grow and compete.
In the main, the employment
provisions contained in the Act require a commencement date before
coming into force. On 26 May 2015, however, certain
provisions including a zero hours exclusivity ban came into
force. The Act also enables the Government to introduce
further provisions in relation to zero hours contracts
The effect of the regulations
is to ban exclusivity clauses in contracts that do not guarantee
hours of work. This will enable a worker to do work or
perform services under another contract or arrangement and indeed
to do so without the employer's consent.
The Government did, however,
acknowledge during the consultation process that it would be
straight forward for employers to side step the exclusivity ban,
for example, by offering contracts that guarantee just one hour of
work or alternatively by providing no work to individuals who
choose to work for other employers.
It is anticipated that further
regulation will follow to include penalties for employers who
circumvent the exclusivity ban and indeed the means by which
individuals who suffer detrimental treatment can complain to the
In the meantime, zero hours
contracts remain a much debated topic. Acas has indicated
that further to research carried out by them many workers were
unaware that they were on a zero hours contract or indeed wrongly
believed that they were permanent employees. Acas has
committed to producing further guidance on the use of zero hours
contracts for both employers and workers in order to raise
awareness and reduce uncertainty.
Posted on: 23/06/2015
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
Back to News articles