Zero hours contracts are contracts between an employer and a worker and/or an employee and provide that the employer is not obliged to provide them with any minimum working hours, and the worker and/or employee is not obliged to accept any of the hours offered.
A ban on exclusivity clauses since May 2015
Zero hours contracts have often historically included exclusivity clauses which prevent workers and employees from working for another employer. Whilst it remains permissible for a business to use zero hours contracts, exclusivity clauses in these types of contract have been banned since 26 May 2015.
New protection for workers as from 11 January 2016
As of today, real protection has been introduced for those engaged on zero hours contracts which include exclusivity clauses:
- zero hours employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed if the reason, or principal reason for their dismissal, is that they have failed to comply with an exclusivity clause. Employees do not need two years’ service to be able to bring their claim; and
- zero hours employees and workers have the right not to be subjected to a detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause. A detriment could be the decision not to offer further work.
Where these rights have been breached, employees and workers may issue a claim in the tribunal and seek a declaration and/or compensation.