Nothing exclusive about zero-hours contracts – an Employment Law update

Exploitative Zero Hours Contracts  should be prohibited

In my blog post in April 2015, I outlined the various employment law proposals made by each political party in their manifestos’ leading up to the General Election in May.

One change that all the main parties seemed to agree upon was that ‘exploitative’ zero-hours contracts should be prohibited, to prevent zero-hours workers being restricted in their ability to work for other employers.

The recently elected Conservative Government has moved quickly to implement its proposal and to bring in section 153 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. This Act was passed on 26th March 2015 and is therefore a product of the coalition government, former Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable being a prominent force in its creation prior to losing his seat at the election.

What does this Act cover?

The Act confirms that any provision of a zero-hours contract which prohibits the worker from working under another contract or under any other arrangement, or which confirms the worker needs the employer’s consent before doing so, is now unenforceable.

There is also a power for the Government to make further provision in the future to protect zero-hours workers from being subjected to a detriment if they do take jobs under other contracts, and to establish a minimum income level below which exclusivity clauses will be unenforceable.

No such legislation has yet been brought into force but this may be something that will be implemented in the future.

It is worth making clear that clauses in ‘ordinary’ contracts of employment which prevent employees from working for any other employer, and to devote their entire time and attention to the interests of their employer, are still enforceable and are unaffected by this legislation.

If you would like your existing contracts of employment or zero-hours contracts reviewed; or would like to discuss how any of the above proposals may affect you or your business, please do contact me on 01908 660966 or 01604 828282 or email me.

Blog disclaimer

About Ben Stanton

Ben heads up the Franklins Employment Law department. He advises both employers and employees on all aspects on UK employment including (but not limited to) unfair or constructive dismissal; discrimintation; parental rights; compromise agreements; and transfer of employment. You can connect with him on LinkedIn
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