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Anti-Avoidance Measures & Zero Hours Contracts

By March 30, 2015July 24th, 2015Current Affairs, Legal Update
Zero Hours Contract | HR Solutions

The Government has announced new measures to enforce a ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.


The Government last week published new legislation to protect employees from exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. These exclusivity clauses prevent employees from taking on secondary jobs to supplement their income.

The proposals outline the consequences for any employer found to be enforcing exclusivity clauses, which include the right for the affected employee to seek redress through an Employment Tribunal. Should the Employment Tribunal find the employer guilty of breaching anti-avoidance rules they could face civil penalties under the Employment Tribunals Act 1996.

A zero hours contract is an arrangement for casual work under which the employer is not obliged to provide a minimum amount of work to their employee, in effect allowing them to put their employee on standby. An exclusivity contract requires the employee to guarantee that they are available for work when required, thus preventing them from working for other employers but with no guarantee that they will actually be offered work.

The Government has also introduced ‘prescribed contracts’, a contract that guarantees a worker less than a certain level of weekly income. This minimum income would be calculated by an agreed number of hours multiplied by the minimum wage, and does not just apply to workers on minimum hours contracts but to any worker who receives less than £20 per hour worked.

Claire Corbett, HR Solutions Consultant, says “there is a place in the workforce for zero hours contracts as this gives employers the flexibility they need to meet ever-changing business needs. It is of particular value to industries that have a seasonal fluctuation, but it is essential that the terms of the contract are transparent to all those engaging in it.”

“The employer needs to understand why they are choosing to use a zero hours contract to ensure that it is the right type of contract for their needs. Likewise the employee should understand the terms and conditions they are agreeing to for this type of contract, and that this can offer flexibility to allow them to control their own work/life balance.”

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