As of today, 26 May 2015, law is in force which prevents employers who utilise zero-hours contracts from having exclusivity clauses in those contracts, or enforcing such clauses if they are already included in the contracts.

Employers will no longer be able to enforce any clause or provision in a zero-hours contract which:

  • prohibits a worker from doing work or performing services under another contract (or any other arrangement); or
  • prohibits a worker from doing work or performing services without the employer’s consent.

It is important to stress that in spite of all the hype and media attention that they attract, zero-hours contracts are still legal. They can be a useful tool for employers, in particular those who require a flexible or seasonal workforce. What is clear, however, is that what employers can do under a zero-hours contract is changing; further laws and regulations on the use of zero-hours contracts are expected later this year. The Government had discussed introducing legislation to create a new protection from detriment for zero-hours contract workers who take jobs under other contracts, however as yet no such legislation has been brought into force.

In addition to the new changes for zero-hours contracts, the maximum financial penalty that can be imposed on employers who fail to pay their employees the national minimum wage has increased. The penalty imposed can now be calculated on a per worker basis (rather than on a per employer notice basis) up to a maximum of £20,000. E mploymentor subscribers can always find more information about national minimum wage and the current rates by logging in to our website.

If you are concerned about zero-hours contracts or any other aspect of this article you should first speak with a member of our Employmentor Team on 01603 281139.

Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be taken in any particular circumstance.

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