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Teeth given to zero hours exclusivity ban

Teeth have now been given to rules that prohibit the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that do not  guarantee minimum hours of work, popularly known as 'zero hours contracts'.

Since 11 January 2016, zero hours workers have had added protection against exploitation from unscrupulous employers.

If a worker is dismissed because they have breached an exclusivity clause in such contracts, it will be regarded as automatically unfair, regardless of continuity of service and upper age limits.

It's also unlawful for employers to subject a zero hours worker to 'any detriment' if they look for work or take on employment elsewhere in breach of exclusivity clauses.

Workers will be able to take claims on these grounds to employment tribunals and seek compensation.

Unenforceable clauses

Exclusivity clauses were made unenforceable in May 2015, preventing employers from stopping workers from looking for work or accepting work from another employer.

Government guidance says that an employer must allow the individual to take work elsewhere in order to earn an income if they themselves do not offer sufficient hours.

If an employer includes an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, the individual cannot be bound by it.

An employer must not attempt to avoid the exclusivity ban by, for example, stipulating that the individual must seek their permission to look for or accept work elsewhere.

Acas publications and services

Acas has detailed information for employers and workers on Zero hours contracts, including a myth-busting page that sets the record straight on common areas of confusion.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you develop the most appropriate and effective terms and conditions of employment. See Contracts and hours: how Acas can help for details.

Practical training courses are also available on drawing up Contracts and terms and conditions and, if you're new to being an employer or manager, Employing People - A Practical Introduction.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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