Independent retailers who are found to be in ‘aggravated breach’ of employment law will face increased fines of up to £20,000 under new laws. 

The department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) outlined proposals for the new penalty, which is an increase from £5,000, in its Good Work Plan at the end of last year. 

Though it is the discretion of employment tribunals to determine what counts as ‘aggravated breach’, the guide proposes several reforms to increase protection for workers.  

The proposals include giving staff the right to request a more stable employment contract. For example, an employee on a zero-hour contract can ask to be put on a contract which more accurately reflects the number of weekly hours they regularly work.

Store owners will also be required to provide a written statement of their employees’ contracts and rights from the day they start. Current legislation states a written statement must be provided within two months of their start date.  

BEIS secretary of state Greg Clark said: “The Government will work closely with employers to ensure we realise the potential of quality work for all.”

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