Zero Hours, Zero Exclusivity

Following the ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts which came into force last year, additional legislation on this topic comes into force this week.  Since May of last year, it has been unlawful for an organisation which engages workers under zero hours contracts to use the contract to restrict those workers from working for other organisations.  Such exclusivity clauses are inconsistent with the uncertain nature of a zero hours’ engagement, where a person might be offered zero work in any week or month.

The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 (the regulations) took effect on 11 January 2016.  The regulations stipulate that the dismissal of an employee will be automatically unfair where the principal reason for dismissal is that the employee breached a contractual clause prohibiting the employee from working for another employer (i.e. an exclusivity clause).

This is a further addition to the growing list of factors which give rise to automatically unfair dismissal.  Note also that there is no need for the employee to have two years’ service to bring such a claim.  The regulations also impose provisions preventing employers from subjecting zero hours workers to a detriment as a result of the worker breaching an exclusivity clause.  These regulations impose an additional layer of protection against exclusivity clauses.

Jack Boyle
Senior Solicitor – Employment Law

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