Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

Zero-hours contracts: new consultation on tackling avoidance of forthcoming ban on exclusivity clauses

The government has published a new consultation seeking views on avoidance of the forthcoming ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. Views are sought on the likelihood of avoidance, how such avoidance should be addressed and potential penalties for employers who flout the ban. The consultation also sets out the government’s desire for relevant stakeholders to develop sector-specific codes of practice on the fair use of zero-hours contracts.

Following the recent consultation on the use of zero-hours contracts, the government has committed to banning the use of exclusivity clauses in such contracts. Exclusivity clauses provide that the employee is not entitled to work for another employer, even when their primary employer has no work available for them. A recent CIPD survey found that nine per cent of individuals engaged on zero-hours contracts are subject to exclusivity clauses.

While the vast majority of respondents (83 per cent) to the consultation supported the introduction of the ban, some stakeholders were concerned that it would be easy for employers to sidestep the ban (for example by offering one-hour contracts or restricting the work opportunities available to the employee). Therefore, the government has published a further consultation seeking views on the best mechanism for tackling avoidance of the exclusivity ban…

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