Zero hour contracts – exclusivity clauses banned!

Under section 153 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the use of exclusivity clauses have been banned by the new government from today, 26 May 2015.

These clauses prevent an individual from working for another employer, even if the current employer is offering no work. It means that they are tied in “exclusively” working for one employer and are prevented from earning an income by working elsewhere.

The Act also bans the use of clauses requiring the employee to obtain the permission of their employers before taking on other work. Whilst the status of clauses simply requiring the employee to provide notification of their other work remains ambiguous employers will likely be concerned about staff working for their competitors without the employer’s knowledge.

Exclusivity clauses have been heavily criticised as being obstructive and unfair as individuals are prevented from earning an income elsewhere in cases where they are not earning enough with their current employer to survive and pay basic bills, mortgages etc.

If you are an employer, please ensure that that you check your employment contracts to ensure that they do not contain these clauses and please do take advice if you are unsure what an exclusivity clause may look like. Any contracts which contain these clauses will simply be unenforceable from today and should therefore not be actively used.

Nitu Patel

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