No January blues for Employees on Zero Hour Contracts

Following on from our Employment Bulletin in September 2014 regarding zero hours contracts, the Government has brought into force the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015.

Please follow this link to review our previous article in which we considered in detail the issues surrounding exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

Exclusivity clauses are clauses in a contract that prevent an employee from working for another employer. In the case of zero hour workers, this can create particular hardship where the employee is typically not guaranteed any amount of work from their employer.

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts which prohibit a worker from working for another employer are now rendered unenforceable by the insertion of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 into the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The regulations were brought into force on 11 January 2016. They entitle employees on zero hours contracts with the right not to be unfairly dismissed if the reason, or the principle reason, is that the employee failed to comply with an exclusivity clause. Further protection is granted to a worker if by working under a zero hours contract they are subjected to any detriment by, or as a result of any act, or deliberate failure to act, carried out by an employer for the reason that the worker has failed to comply with an exclusivity clause.

Pam Sidhu comments: “These new regulations give enhanced rights to zero hours workers. It is important to note that the above right, not to be unfairly dismissed, is not subject to a qualifying period of employment (i.e. two years of service). Hence, where an employer has breached these rights then the zero hour employee will be able to issue a claim in the tribunal and seek a declaration and/or compensation, irrespective of level of employment service.”

If you would like further information or to discuss the impacts of this for your business, please contact Pam Sidhu on 0121 233 4333 or any member of the Employment team.

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