Briefing: The Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Bill

Submitted by claudiaobrien on Fri, 07/11/2014 - 09:13

7 November 2014

The bill includes commitment to cut red tape, to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the introduction of new regulations for childcare and rights for pub tenants exploited by owners. The insolvency process is addressed, with provisions made to stop business owners shutting down companies with debt in order to start again immediately, debt free.

The bill also addresses areas related to employment protections. These include provision for increased penalties for the non-payment of minimum wage on a per-worker basis, and a ban on exclusivity clauses in Zero Hours Contracts. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the bill aims to reduce Employment Tribunal delays caused by short notice postponements, and to ensure the payment of Employment Tribunal awards by placing higher fines on buisnesses’ non-payment. Curbs on ‘excessive public sector redundancy packages’ are also a notable component of the bill.

The bill includes measures on the following:

Whistleblowing

Prescribed persons will be required to report annually of whistleblowing disclosures received, maintaining confidentiality obligations.

Employment Tribunals

Employers failing to pay an ET award will face a “strong financial consequence”.

Ministers will be allowed to place a limit on the number of successful applications for the postponement of an Employment Tribunal hearing requested by a claimant or respondent.

Minimum Wage

Penalties imposed on employers found breaching minimum wage legislation will be increased, and imposed on a per-worker basis.

Zero Hours Contracts

Exclusivity in Zero Hours Contracts will be made invalid, in order that no employee is tied exclusively to a contract with no guarantee of work.

Public Sector Exit Payments

Individuals re-entering the public sector will be required to repay payments received on their exit

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