The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 starts to take effect

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The following provisions of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEEA 2015) came into force on 26 May 2015:

  • Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are unenforceable. Whilst many reports talk of them being ‘banned’, the reality is that whilst an exclusivity clause may still be in a zero hour’s contract, the employer will not be able to enforce it. Concerns remain about unscrupulous employers using other methods (e.g. the threat of withdrawal of work) to ensure workers only work for them. This may be addressed through further ‘anti-avoidance’ legislation but this has yet to be confirmed.
  • The maximum penalty for breach of the national minimum wage has increased to £20,000 in respect of each underpaid worker.

The remaining employment provisions of the SBEEA 2015 are not yet in force and do not yet have a commencement date:

  • Regulations requiring employers with at least 250 employees to publish information about their gender pay gap. This must be introduced within 12 months of the SBEEA 2015 receiving Royal Assent which means that it must be introduced by 26 March 2016 at the latest.
  • Repayment of public sector exit payments.
  • Financial penalties for unpaid tribunal awards.
  • Annual reporting of whistleblowing disclosures by prescribed persons.