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Zero Hours Contracts - Ban on Exclusivity Clauses

Following significant media coverage concerning zero hours contracts (contracts that do not guarantee hours of work) and their apparent abuse by some employers, the government launched a consultation in December 2013 focusing on the use of exclusivity clauses and the lack of transparency in zero hours arrangements.

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On 25 June 2014, the government published its response to the consultation. Given the support of an overwhelming majority of respondents (82%), the government decided to ban exclusivity clauses, which the legislation defines as clauses which prohibit a worker from doing work or performing services under another contract or arrangement at all or without the employer’s consent. That ban comes into effect today – exclusivity clauses are now ineffective, in connection with existing zero hours contracts as well as those which are entered into from today.

Further regulations are awaited dealing with the anti-avoidance aspects – potential loopholes employers may use to avoid the ban.