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Zero hours contracts and enforcement of exclusivity clause

In May 2015, the Government took steps to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. Such clauses prevented workers from seeking work from other employers limiting the individual’s potential earning capacity. Due to the wide-spread use of zero hours contracts by employers on the basis they do not guarantee work, such clauses have been dubbed unreasonable and an abuse of power. Whilst the introduction of a ban on exclusivity clauses was welcomed, there was no power to enforce a ban.

New legislation has now been laid before Parliament giving workers the right to bring an Employment Tribunal Claim. This is currently in draft form but represents a step in the right direction. The new Regulations are The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, but we do not yet know when they will come into force.

The new Regulations propose to provide a remedy to those workers who are dismissed or who suffer a detriment perhaps where they choose to ignore an exclusivity clause and seek work from another employer resulting in the original employer failing to offer further work.

Further legislation is proposed to prevent employers offering a guaranteed number of hours per week to get around the exclusivity provision.

Guidance has been published for employers on best practice when dealing with workers on zero hours contracts. The guidance can be found here.

Posted in: Employment

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