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Ban on ‘exclusivity clauses’ in zero hour contracts comes into force

The new rule banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts came into force yesterday. An exclusivity clause is a clause which prohibits a worker from working elsewhere, or prohibits a worker from working elsewhere without the employer’s consent.

This legislation had been passed by the previous coalition government, which also indicated that it would introduce regulations aimed at preventing employers circumventing the ban by offering either a low number of guaranteed hours, or less work to individuals who worked elsewhere. The intention was to:

  • Allow employees to bring a tribunal claim if they were subjected to a detriment (such as being offered less work) as a result of working elsewhere; and
  • Extend the ban to cover not only ‘pure zero-hours contracts’ but also contracts under which a worker works less than a set number of hours, or earns less than a set amount, each week (no figures for the hours or earnings threshold were made available). To avoid catching workers with high hourly rates but few hours, the extended ban would not apply to individuals with an hourly rate above a certain threshold, proposed to be £20.

At this stage, it is unclear when (or indeed if) these anti-avoidance measures will come into force.


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