The Government has responded to its consultation on zero hours contracts, including its proposals in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill discussed above. Significantly, the contracts are given a statutory definition; and it has been announced that there will be a ban on exclusivity clauses within such contracts. The Employment Rights Act 1996 will define a zero hours contract as a contract under which:

The undertaking to do or perform work or services is an undertaking to do so conditionally on the employer making work or services available to the worker, and

There is no certainty that any such work or services will be made available to the worker.

A contractual clause will be unenforceable if it prohibits the worker from:

– doing work or performing services under another contract or under any other arrangement, or  doing so without the employer’s consent.

Provision is also made within the Bill for the Government to make further regulation on:

– imposing financial penalties on employers;

– requiring employers to pay compensation to zero hours workers;

– setting out what claims can be made to an employment tribunal;

– providing rights to zero hours workers.

The Government has also indicated it will:

– commit to increasing the availability of information for employees on zero hours contracts; and  work with the unions and businesses to develop a code of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts by the end of 2014.

There is currently no implementation date for the above changes and because all proposals are subject to debate in the House of Commons, it is possible that the above may change, be added to or that some proposals may be deleted.

For further clarification then please contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.