Zero hours contracts: exclusivity clauses now unenforceable

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are banned from today

Legislation preventing employers from using exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts becomes law from today (26 May). The legislation makes clauses in contracts of employment that prohibit a worker on zero hours contracts from carrying out work for another employer unenforceable.

Zero hours contracts

Zero hours contract clause

A key part of the Conservative’s election campaign was a promise to ban clauses in zero hours contracts requiring exclusivity from the worker.

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts occur when an employer prevents casual staff working for another employer, even though they are not guaranteed any work.

The ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts was included in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

This was one of the last pieces of legislation to become an Act of Parliament before the dissolution of Parliament, prior to the general election on 7 May 2015.

However, further legislation was needed to commence the relevant provision in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Nick Boles, business minister, said: “Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts prevent people from boosting their income when they have no guarantee of work.

“Banning these clauses will give working people the freedom to take other work opportunities and more control over their work hours and income. It brings financial security one step closer for lots of families.”

Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the CBI, said: “Banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts is a proportionate response to tackling examples of poor practice.

“But any further regulation must not damage our flexible labour market, which is an important success story of our economy, benefiting employers and employees alike.”

Further provisions to tackle methods for employers to circumvent the ban on exclusivity clauses are awaited.

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