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Zero Hour Contracts...what next

Zero hour contracts have been the talk of the town since the Conservatives came into power….but what’s the latest on them now?

With effect from 11th January 2016, the Government introduced The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015.

The new regulations now provide that any dismissal of a zero hour contract worker will be deemed to be automatically unfair, if the principal reason of the dismissal is that the worker breached the contractual clause preventing him/her from working for another employer.

You may recall that exclusivity clauses have been prohibited since May 2015 but the new regulations also prevent workers from being subjected to a detriment by their employer because they “breach” an exclusivity clause (by working elsewhere) and will now be able to seek compensation through an Employment Tribunal.

Is there a qualifying period to bring this claim? The simple answer to this is no. The employee does not need a qualifying period in order to bring a claim of this sort. This claim therefore joins the other excepted reasons which are set out below:- 

•    Discrimination on the grounds of a protected characteristic i.e. age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation;
•    Dismissal for reasons such as pregnancy or maternity leave;
•    Trade union membership
•    Protected disclosure;
•    Reporting health and safety risks; or
•    Assertion of statutory rights.

In short, our advice is to update your contracts and ensure there is no exclusivity clause within your contracts and if you are looking to dismiss a worker who is on a zero hours contract, seek legal advice first!

Contact us if you would like some advice.