Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/510) came into effect on 8 May 2016.

Key amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 are:

  • Recruiters are no longer prohibited from entering into contracts on behalf of their clients;
  • Regulation 17, which requires businesses or employment agencies to agree terms prior to providing any services to hirers has been removed;
  • Businesses and employment agencies are prohibited from publishing a recruitment advertisement in an EEA state unless this advertisement is also published in Great Britain (in English) and the advertisements are released in Great Britain and the EEA state at the same time. Alternatively the advertisement must be published in Great Britain (in English) for a period of 28 days ending on the day the advertisement is published in the EEA state;

Enterprise Act 2016

The Enterprise Act 2016, which received royal assent on 4 May 2016, makes the following changes to the employment sector:

  • Small Business Commissioner: it establishes a Small Business Commissioner whose principal functions are to provide general advice and information to small businesses and to consider disputes between small business and big businesses regarding the supply of goods and services;
  • Sunday working: the notice period that a shop worker must provide his employer to opt out of working on a Sunday has been reduced from three months to one month;
  • Apprenticeships: it creates a statutory definition of an ‘apprenticeship’ in England and introduces the Institute for Apprenticeships which will regulate the standard of all apprenticeships. It also makes it a statutory offence to label training as an apprenticeship if it does not meet the statutory definition;
  • Public sector exit payments: provides for regulations to be introduced which will set a cap of £95,000 on exit payments in the public sector.

Non Compete Clauses Considered in Consultation

On 24 April 2016, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced plans to investigate employment rules that could be stifling small businesses and entrepreneurship. These include a call for evidence seeking views on non-compete clauses and a survey on how the UK can improve its innovation framework. Both the survey and call for evidence will form part of the National Innovation Plan. The survey closes on 30 May 2016 and the National Innovation Plan will be published later this year.

The National Innovation Plan will set out how the government can help make the UK a better place to turn ideas into new products and technologies. It will look at areas including how to make Britain the most attractive place in Europe to start up new businesses.

The government has also launched a survey in which UK businesses are asked their views on seven areas: making regulation work for business, access to data and finance, using government procurement to kick start development of new tech, supporting new and dynamic businesses, maximising opportunities to deliver infrastructure that unlocks wider economic opportunities and intellectual property. The survey closes on 30 May 2016. The results of the survey will be included in the National Innovation plan. 

Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016 

The Posted Workers (Enforcement of Employment Rights) Regulations 2016 were considered by Parliament on 27 April 2016. The purpose of the regulations is to give workers posted to the UK recourse against the contractor, should their employer fail to pay them the national minimum wage. The introduction of these measures will allow the worker to hold the contractor liable, jointly or severally, with the employer for any pay that is outstanding below the minimum rate required. It is not possible to contract out of these regulations.

From 18 June 2016, being the date by which compliance of the Posted Workers Enforcement Directive is required, posted workers will within three months of payment be able to bring a claim in the employment tribunal against the employer for unlawful deduction of wages for any period after the regulations come into force.

The worker will also be able to bring the claim against the contractor. However, the contractor will have a defence if it can be demonstrated that it exercised all due diligence to ensure the worker would be appropriately remunerated by the employer in accordance with the national minimum wage.

 You won’t get me, I’m part of the Union!

The Trade Union Act received royal assent on 4 May 2016 and will, once it comes into force, make the following changes to trade union legislation:


  • a strike ballot must have a new minimum voter turnout (i.e. that at least 50% of those entitled to vote do so) This would mean that at least half of the union members that constitute the bargaining unit affected by the dispute would need to vote in order for the ballot to be valid. If at least 50% vote, then a simple majority of them would need to vote in favour in order for the ballot to lead to industrial action.
  • in important public services (including in health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors) an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal. Further regulations will specify the details
  • ballot voting paper will require more detail as to the issues in dispute, the specific type of industrial action and the period in which the action will be taken.
  • notice of industrial action doubles to fourteen days (unless the employer accepts seven days)
  • a ballot mandate will expire after six months (or nine months, with agreement) as opposed to there being no fixed end point by which the mandate ceases as is currently the case.


  • there will be additional requirements when picketing including a requirement for the union to appoint a person to supervise the picketing. The picket supervisor must be an official or other member of the union who is familiar with the code
  • the union or picket supervisor must take reasonable steps to tell the police:
  • the picket supervisor's name,
  • where the picketing will be taking place, and
  • how to contact the picket supervisor.
  • The union must provide the picket supervisor with a letter stating that the picketing is approved by the union. The picket supervisor must show the letter of authorisation to any person who is acting on behalf of the employer as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been asked for sight of the letter.
  • While the picketing is taking place, the picket supervisor must be either:
  • present where it is taking place, or
  • readily contactable by the union and the police, and able to attend at short notice.
  • While present where the picketing is taking place, the picket supervisor must wear "something" to identify themselves.
  • there will be new powers for the Certification Officer to investigate and take enforcement action against trade unions for breaches of their statutory duties
  • public sector employers and certain private sector employers (i.e. those which perform functions of a public nature which are wholly or partly funded from public funds) must publish facility time information
  • public sector employers and certain private sector employers (i.e. those which perform functions of a public nature which are wholly or partly funded from public funds) will only be able to make check-off deductions if the worker has the option to pay its subscriptions by other means and the union makes reasonable payments towards the employers' costs for the deductions (implementation will be delayed for twelve months)
  • there may be future regulations limiting the amount and cost of facility time

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