Zero Hour Contracts

Zero Hours Contracts and exclusivity clauses

Zero Hours Contracts – the exclusivity clause is now unenforceable


Zero hours contracts are also known as casual contracts. They are often used by businesses to deal with fluctuating demand and allow employers to hire workers without guaranteeing them any work.

What is changing?

Zero Hours contracts have had their fair amount of negative press with larger companies being accused of taking advantage of their workers. The requirement for individuals under these contracts to only work for that particular employer are now unfair and unenforceable.

What do I need to be aware of?

Earlier this month the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 came into force and provide as follows:

  • Any dismissal of an employee who is on a zero hours contract is automatically unfair if the principal reason is because they breached a clause stopping them from working for another employer (an exclusivity clause);
  • No qualifying period of service is required to bring such a claim;
  • Employers are not allowed to subject anyone working under a zero hours contract to a detriment because they failed to comply with an exclusivity clause.

How does this affect employers?

Employers who use these types of contracts will no longer be able to enforce any exclusivity clause in the contract.

What we can do for you?

Zero hours contracts will have their place and indeed some updated guidance from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills suggests that they are suitable for starts ups, seasonal work, special events and to cover sickness absence.

You may find the guidance useful and a copy of the link is here.  Zero hours contracts are still a tricky area and we can guide you through the pitfalls and traps to make sure you use them as effectively as possible.