Zero Hours Contracts


Zero Hours Contracts

Zero hour contracts took a beating in 2015 and were much talked about, with Labour promising ‘to give zero hour contract workers a legal right to a regular contract if they have worked without guaranteed hours for 12 weeks' if they got into power.  It was argued by many that Zero Hours workers need unfair dismissal rights and not regular hours. Regardless of the debates surrounding the use of zero-hours contracts, they are here to stay.

From May 2015, employers operating zero hours contracts are no longer allowed to use exclusivity clauses, which prohibited the employees from seeking or accepting work from another employer. This means employees on zero hours contracts are able to seek additional employment if, for example, they're not working enough hours under their current contract.

From 11th January 2016, the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contract (redress) regulations 2015 come into force which give zero hours workers the right not to be unfairly dismissed or to be subjected to any detriment (such as being denied work) if the reason (or main reason) is that the worker has worked for another employer in breach of an exclusivity clause contained in their contract of employment.

This will mean that employers will have to be careful if they suddenly reduce the number of hours given to an employee on zero hours. An employer may not be aware if an employee has worked for someone else, but it is not difficult to see how some employees could try to claim that this was the real reason in order to make a claim.

Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on

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