Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts no longer unenforceable

Peninsula Team

June 01 2015

With effect from 26th May 2015, exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are no longer unenforceable. This means that employers cannot stop a zero hours worker from looking for or obtaining work under another contract with another employer.

Zero hours contracts were a hot topic for all the main political parties in the run up to the General Election. The Election result meant that the Conservative Party was able to continue with the plans that it had begun to develop earlier on in the year. 

Whilst the use of zero hours contracts may continue, they are no longer able to prevent the worker from finding work elsewhere. This is to combat the situation where a zero hours worker who was not offered any hours of work under his contract and therefore not able to earn any money – perfectly legally – was unable to earn any money elsewhere because their contract forebode it.

Whilst it is still possible, at the moment, to enforce exclusivity clauses in contracts which are not zero hours contracts e.g. contracts of employment, workers contracts etc, this situation is due to change in the near future. The ban on exclusivity clauses will, once new legislation is introduced, apply to ALL contracts unless:

• A minimum threshold of hours and earnings is met; or • The hourly rate is £20 or more.

The minimum hours and earnings threshold has not yet been announced, and there is currently no date for implementation.

The ban does not affect the ability of an employer to require workers to inform them of work they perform under other contracts in order to comply with working time legislation e.g. ensuring that a worker does not perform more than 48 hours work on average per week, over a 17 week reference period. The rules on maximum working hours and breaks etc are complex and specific advice should be taken on these.

We will keep you up to date on future developments with exclusivity clauses in contracts.

If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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