Zero hours legislation explained

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media concerning zero hours legislation and the rights of those workers currently subject to zero hours contracts thanks to new legislation that was bought into force on the 26th of March last year.

A zero hours contract is defined as:

A contract of employment or other worker’s contract under which:
(a) the undertaking to do or perform work or services is an undertaking to do so conditionally on the employer making work or services available to the worker, and
(b) there is no certainty that any such work or services will be made available to the worker

Such contracts have been heralded as unfair to the employee, with the employer being under no obligation to provide any work. However, the new legislation on zero hours contracts has seen a ban placed on exclusivity clauses. Prior to the new act, an exclusivity clause was added to the contract stopping the employee working elsewhere, even if their employer had no work to offer them. In a few cases, this clause had been abused by unscrupulous employers and caused the media storm surrounding this type of contract.

The government is proposing further regulations being enforced regarding exclusivity clauses in prescribed contracts where an employee cannot be paid for more than a set minimum number of hours. So if you operate zero hours contracts, the onus is on you to make sure you keep up to date with any changes and abide by the recent legislation to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.

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