The Queen’s Speech heralds further worker protections

04 August 2014

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014-15 was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 4 June 2014 and has already had its first reading in the House of Commons.

The headlines of the Bill (as far as employment law is concerned) include:

  • A new financial penalty for tribunal respondents (ranging from £100 to £5,000 depending on the value of the original award) who fail to pay compensation awards to claimants on time
  • New provisions to limit the number of postponements or adjournments a party may apply for in employment tribunal proceedings
  • A new power for tribunals to make an order for costs against a party who makes a late application to postpone or adjourn
  • A new statutory definition of zero-hours contracts
  • Exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts will be unenforceable
  • The Government will be given wide-ranging powers to make further provisions in relation to zero hours contracts in the future
  • Annual reports of protected disclosures made by whistleblowers to be produced, without identifying the workers or employees who made the disclosures
  • Rules on the disqualification of directors to be strengthened
  • Introduction of new measures to limit excessive redundancy payments for highly paid employees in the public sector

The Bill is now making its passage through Parliament. We will publish details of when the Bill is expected to come into force, together with amendments in a future Employment Law Update.

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