Zero hours contracts have been widely debated and in 2015 regulations were brought in prohibiting any clause in a zero hours contracts which states that a worker could not work elsewhere (an exclusivity clause).
As of 11th January 2016 workers (including employees) have the power to make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal which means workers can now enforce the unlawful inclusion of an unfair exclusivity clause in a contract and work for another employer.
Any dismissal of that employee for this reason will be automatically unfair irrespective of length of service.
Further, where a zero hours contract worker is subjected to a detriment/unfavourable treatment because they have breached a purported exclusivity clause will be unlawful and a tribunal claim for detriment can be brought.
Zero hours contracts have historically been used in retail and the care industry as they can provide a benefit to businesses when managing fluctuations in demand.
This change of law and ability to now seek redress is due to the Government’s view that over the last few years and during the recent recession, these types of contracts have been exploited by businesses.
Whilst this measure can be seen as a positive more for workers, it will inevitably cause difficulty for some employers as the fact remains that some businesses will find it genuinely difficult if workers work for other competing businesses.
It is imperative that businesses are aware of these changes.
If you require a review of your existing employment contracts or advice and assistance with drafting or implementing zero hours contracts, contact me or a member of the employment team here.