Developments In Relation To Zero Hours’ Contracts

The government has published the draft Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 which are intended to prevent employers including contractual provisions (known as exclusivity clauses) which prevent, or purport to prevent, individuals doing work under any other contract or arrangement.

The Regulations provide:

  • A right for employees working under zero hours contracts not to be unfairly dismissed if the reason, or principal reason, is that the employee has failed to comply with an exclusivity clause; and
  • A right for workers working under zero hours contracts not to be subjected to any detriment by, or as a result of any act, or deliberate failure to act, done by an employer for the reason that the worker has failed to comply with an exclusivity clause. The right not to be unfairly dismissed is not subject to a qualifying period of employment (i.e. the two year period does not apply as it does in relation to “ordinary” unfair dismissal). Where an employer breaches these rights, the employee may issue a claim in the tribunal and seek a declaration and/or compensation.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has recently published guidance in relation to the use of zero hours contracts which may also be useful to employers. This can be found on the gov.uk website.