The Latest News on Zero Hours Contracts

The Government has banned the right to include an exclusivity clause in Zero Hours contracts. This means that you can’t employ someone on a Zero Hours contract and then try to prevent that person from doing other work, or stop them from working without your consent.

The clause is now illegal, so if any of your employees have this clause in their contract, as their employer, you can no longer enforce it. The ban became legal on 26 May 2015.

Zero Hours contracts, when used correctly, are very effective, e.g. for students during holiday periods or seasonal work. These casual contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work. They mean employees work only when they are needed by employers, often at short notice. Their pay depends on how many hours they work. A Zero Hours contract is generally understood to be a contract between an employer and a worker where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours, and the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered. Zero hours workers have the same employment rights as regular workers, although they may have breaks in their contracts, which affect rights that accrue over time. They are also entitled to annual leave, the National Minimum Wage and pay for work-related travel in the same way as regular workers.

Zero hours contracts can be used to provide a flexible workforce to meet a temporary or changeable need for staff.

Examples may include a need for workers to cover:

  • unexpected or last-minute events (e.g. a restaurant needs extra staff to cater for a wedding party whose original venue cancelled)
  • temporary staff shortages (e.g. an office loses an essential specialist worker for a few weeks due to bereavement)
  • on-call/bank work (e.g. one of the clients of a care-worker company requires extra care for a short period of time).

If you have staff with Zero Hours contracts and you’re not sure if you have the exclusivity clause in those contracts, contact us on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email us and we’ll talk you through it.