Ban on Zero Hours Contracts Exclusivity Clauses: Government Considers Measures to Tackle Avoidance

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Posted on 28 Aug 2014

Following on from the Government’s announcement that it plans to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, it has issued a further consultation to “ensure that any potential loopholes that could be used to avoid that ban are closed”. 

The consultation seeks views on a range of potential actions the Government could take to tackle avoidance, as well as considering routes of redress for employees.

The Government is seeking views on:

  • The probability of employers seeking to evade the ban and how they might to do this;
  • Whether it should do more to deal with potential avoidance and, if so, by what method – for example through a code of practice or legislation;
  • Whether it should act now to counter potential avoidance or wait and monitor employer activity after the ban is implemented;
  • Whether consequences for employers who evade the ban are necessary and if so, what they should be - for example criminal/ civil penalties or complaints by employees to the employment tribunal for detrimental treatment; and
  • Whether there are any unintended consequences resulting from the wording of the legislation.

In terms of information, advice and guidance on zero hours contracts, rather than a single code of practice the Government is contemplating that business representatives and unions should work together, alongside the government, to establish sector-specific codes of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts. Potential topics to cover could include when and when not to use a zero hours contract; how to promote clarity (for example job adverts and contracts stating the type of contract up front); the rights and responsibilities of both parties; how to calculate accrued benefits such as annual leave; and best practice when allocating work. 

The Government will also review existing guidance with a view to improving the information available to individuals and employers on using these contracts.

Responses to the Consultation Banning Exclusivity Clause: Tackling Avoidance are required by 3 November 2014.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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