GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES FURTHER CONSULTATION ON ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS
LUKE HUTCHINGS >
PartnerThu 11 September 2014
Zero hours contracts (that is contracts under which the employer is not under an obligation to offer any hours at all to the employee) have frequently been in the news over the last few years.
Their detractors criticise them of exploitative of the most vulnerable workers, whereas their supporters say the flexibility they offer both parties is a vital tool in getting people into employment and stimulating economic growth.
At the end of 2013 the Government launched a consultation on zero hours contracts and, in this year’s Queen’s Speech announced plans to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, i.e. where an employer does not guarantee and employee any work it will no longer be permitted to prevent that employer from working elsewhere at the same time.
It has now launched a second consultation seeking input on ways to prevent employers finding ‘loopholes’ so as to avoid the ban on exclusivity clauses.
Some quarters have suggested that such ‘anti-avoidance’ measures might include:
- Offering contracts guaranteeing, say, 1 hour of work per week
- Offering less opportunities to those employees who choose to work for a second employer
- Providing no work at all to, or even dismissing, employees working for a second employer
There already exists a framework of legislation to protect, for example, part time workers and fixed terms contract workers from dismissal and/or detriment because of their part time status and one obvious solution might be to implement a similar regime applying to those working under zero hours contracts.
The consultation closes on 3 November 2014.
If you are an employee working under a zero hours contract, or an employer using, or thinking of using, zero hours contract and require advice about your rights and responsibilities, or if you have any other query, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our employment team in Peterborough on (01733) 333333, or London on 020 3540 4444.
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