Back to zero: government consults on zero-hours employment contracts

Following an information gathering period that took place in late 2013, the government has launched a formal consultation on the use of zero-hours contracts. The consultation paper accepts that the flexibility offered by zero-hours contracts can be valuable for both employers and workers, but is seeking views on the use of exclusivity clauses and asks whether there is sufficient transparency surrounding the implications of being engaged in a fixed-term contract.

Exclusivity clauses prevent a worker undertaking work for anyone else, even if no work is offered under the zero-hours contract. The government accepts that such a clause might be justified in some circumstances — to protect confidential information, for example.

However, there is a concern that such clauses are being used where there is no real justification for them. The consultation paper asks for views on how such misuse could be addressed, including the possibility of a ban on exclusivity clauses in certain contracts…

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