Protection for Zero Hours Workers

Victoria Shepherd

Victoria Shepherd

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Phone 01952 278585

13 January 2016

Zero hours contracts have grabbed a lot of headlines over recent years. A survey conducted last year estimated that there are around 1.5 million of these contracts in the UK. In response to claims that zero hours working arrangements can be exploitative, legislation was introduced last year which rendered exclusivity clauses unenforceable within zero hours contracts. However, what the legislation failed to do was provide any remedy for employees who had been subject to detriment or unfairly dismissed as a result of an exclusivity clause. This has now been addressed.

Regulations, which came into force on 11 January 2016, provided that any dismissal of a zero hours employee due to the breach of an exclusivity clause is now automatically unfair. The new regulations also provide that workers have the legal right not to be subjected to detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause. There is no qualifying period for these rights and employees have the right to pursue these claims at an employment tribunal.

If you employ any staff on a zero hours basis, there may well be an exclusivity clause within their contract of employment. It is crucial that you are aware that not only are these no longer enforceable, but that there are (potentially costly) options available to workers if you take action as a result of them breaching these clauses.

At Alpha, we are able to draft any employment documentation you may need, including contracts of employment. We also provide ongoing support to members of our Alpha scheme, such as how to respond to any legislative changes. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.

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