Newsflash: Zero hours contracts – ban on exclusivity

zero hours - hand holding timer showing zeroWhat do we already know?

In our October and December 2013 Newsletters we discussed the debate on zero hours contracts and let you know that the Government launched a consultation on this in December 2013. For more detail see our updates here.

What’s new?

The Government has published its response to the zero hours consultation, announcing plans to:

  • ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts (including further consultation on how to prevent employers evading the exclusivity ban by, for example, offering a one hour fixed contract); and
  • increase the availability of information for employees on these contracts, including:
  • working with employers and unions to develop a code of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts; and
  • providing information on Government websites.

What do we think?

It will be a relief to most employers that the current Government has stopped short of a complete ban on zero hours contracts.   Zero hours contracts bring flexibility to both employers and workers alike. However, if these plans go ahead, some employers may want to stop offering zero hours contracts as it will no doubt be more difficult to protect their legitimate interests (such as confidential information) if they are unable to prevent one of their workers also working for a competitor.