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For a while now we have heard reports in the media – both TV/radio and in the newspapers – that zero hours contracts are awful for those who work according to them, and how unfair they are on workers.  This was partly because a zero hours contract usually contained a clause saying that the employee could not work for any other company – the exclusivity clause.  This, combined with there being no guarantee of a minimum number of hours of work per week, meant that it could place real financial pressure on the employee whilst representing a minimal risk to the employer.  In my experience they are not universally unpopular with employees, but I am sure these arrangements have not been ideal for everyone.

This type of contract is now changing – as from 11th January 2016 clauses in the contracts of zero hours workers preventing them from working for another organisation became illegal.  On top of that, if such a worker is dismissed for breaching an exclusivity clause, then they will be entitled to bring an unfair dismissal claim even if they do not have two years continuous service usually required for such claims.  They will also have a potential claim if they are treated badly if they work in breach of such a clause, ie not dismissed but put to some disadvantage or detriment.

Employers beware – you cannot now issue zero hours contracts that have exclusivity clauses.  Employees also be aware – if you have a zero hours contract, you should be able to work for that employer or for two or more in the same week without your employer causing you a problem.

If you have any queries or questions about this, please do give me a call on 07866104194 or 02392 640292, or send me an email using the ‘Contact’ page.



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