Govt announces plans for zero hour contracts

Following months of publicity and various public consultations, the Government has announced its proposals for the future of zero hour contracts.

The main issue with these contracts – which offer no guarantee of any working hours – is the use of exclusivity clauses. These are clauses which prevent the worker from performing work for another employer whilst under the zero hour contract. This effectively means that the worker has no opportunity to earn any money if they are not offered any hours under the zero hour contract.

The Government initially undertook to ban exclusivity clauses. This would mean that any paragraph within a zero hour contract which attempted to prevent the worker working elsewhere would be void and unenforceable.

However, the new proposals are not so strict. They do not place an overall ban on exclusivity clauses but severely restrict their use.

If the proposals are confirmed, the ban will extend beyond zero hours contracts to all employee and worker contracts under which the individual is not guaranteed a certain level of income. The ban will not apply to contracts which provide less than £20 per hour for the work performed.

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Nicola Mullineux

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