Zero Hours Contracts No Longer Exclusive

After months of publicity and debate, the Government’s ban on the use of exclusivity clauses within zero hours contracts has finally arrived.  As of 26 May 2015, employers can no longer prevent zero hours workers from working for another employer.

As you may recall, zero-hours contracts were a hot topic in the run-up to the election and views on them are polarised. Employee representatives argue that they can create financial uncertainty and instability.  On the other hand, employers argue that they are an essential tool to allow them to adjust staffing levels in response to changing demands and economic pressures.

Whatever the arguments for and against the use of zero contracts, the changes mean that exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts (which occur when an employer prevents casual staff from working for another employer, even though they are not guaranteed any work) shall no longer be enforceable.

Therefore, if your current zero-hours contracts prevent workers from performing other work, or prohibits them from working without your consent, this will no longer be valid against that worker – he or she will now be free to work for other employers if he or she so wishes.

If you have zero-hours workers, or if you are thinking of using them, it is worth making sure that you put the right documentation (and contingency plans should the zero hour worker not be available to work when called upon) in place.

We have helped with contracts for a variety of businesses, so please get in touch with our employment lawyer, Kay Kularia, who would be more than happy to guide you through the changes and help draft new or revised contracts.

For further information, please contact James Macdonald or Michael Latner in our employment team by calling 020 8891 6141 or e-mail or