Zero Hours Contracts – Some Protection For Employees

New regulations seem to provide some real protection for zero hour contract workers although just how effective the regulations will prove to be is open to some question. From now on exclusivity clauses (clauses which prevent an employee working for another employer) in zero hours contracts are effectively not enforceable. 

The law now is that any dismissal of a zero hours contract employee is automatically unfair if the principal reason is that he/she carries out work for another employer in breach of an exclusivity clause. What’s more, there is no qualifying period of employment (usually 2 years) needed to bring an unfair dismissal claim on these grounds. It’s also now unlawful to submit a zero hours worker to detrimental treatment because they work for another employer. 

As in all these changes in regulations time will tell how effective they are in giving zero hours workers real protection. Anyone seeking to bring an unfair dismissal claim will still face the hurdle of ACAS Early Conciliation and, more importantly, the sometimes insurmountable problem of Tribunal Fees.