14th January 2016


 Issue No.  2016/02



Zero Hour Contracts – Exclusivity Clause

With effect from 26th May 2015, any term in a zero hours contract that restricted a worker from working elsewhere became unenforceable.  This was implemented amidst controversy that these types of arrangements were considered unfair. Whilst in some circumstances it is not unreasonable to restrict a permanent employee from secondary employment, it is however, unreasonable (the Government decreed) to restrict a worker from secondary employment when engaged on a zero hours contracts, which does not guarantee the employee/worker with any work/minimum number of weekly hours.  

When Regulations were implemented that made exclusivity clauses unenforceable, in reality it did not provide the worker with any remedy.  That has now changed. With effect from the 11th January 2016, employees now have the power to make a complaint to an employment tribunal where they have been dismissed or subjected to a detriment following breach of an exclusivity clause. 

The Regulations provide:

  • any dismissal of a zero hour contract employee is automatically unfair, if the principal reason is that s/he breached a contractual clause prohibiting him/her from working for another employer
  • no qualifying period is required to bring such an unfair dismissal claim; and,
  • it is also unlawful to submit a zero hour worker (note: worker not employee) to detriments if they work for another employer in breach of a clause prohibiting them from doing so.

We have always felt that zero hours contracts, when used correctly, can prove useful in providing an additional, flexible resource; don’t let the bad press put you off!

Please contact Sentient on 03456 446 006 if you need any advice on zero hours contracts.





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