From the 11th January 2016 workers on zero hours contacts now have a new right of redress against employers who include exclusivity clauses in their contracts of employment. Exclusivity clauses were rendered unenforceable in May 2015.
Until now, however employers could punish individuals engaged under a zero hours contract who worked elsewhere, for example by failing to offer them further work as there was no penalty for avoiding the ban.
Under a zero hours contract the employer does not guarantee to provide a minimum number of hours work. Some employers have used exclusivity clauses to prevent those engaged on zero hours contracts from working for another organisation or to prohibit workers from doing so without the employer’s consent.
The new regulations which have come into force this week known as the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, give those employed under zero hours contracts the right to claim compensation through an employment tribunal where they are dismissed or suffer a detriment for working for another employer or asking their permission to do so.
Workers will now also have the right to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal if the reason, or principal reason for the dismissal was that they did not comply with an exclusivity clause. It is noteworthy that the new regulations make it automatically unfair to dismiss an employee who is engaged on a zero hours contract, which means that the two year qualifying period (which is a prerequisite for most unfair dismissal claims) would not apply.
If an employer includes an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, the individual cannot be bound by it and can ignore it.
If any of your team are working on zero hours contracts you should have the contracts checked to make sure that they do not breach the new regulations. Employees or workers are entitled to make a complaint to an employment tribunal and seek compensation if their rights are breached
This, in no means, outlaws zero hours contracts, but it does mean that many will need to be redrafted so that there are no exclusivity clauses.
The employment experts at Premier Legal LLP are able to draft or redraft zero hours contracts to make sure that you are compliant with the new regulations and to help protect your business.
Please call us on: 0845 070 0505 or at our Head Office on 0115 988 6211 if you would like more information.