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Are you confident your contracts are up to date?

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

The Exclusivity Terms for Zero Hours Workers (Unenforceability and Redress) Regulations 2022 come into force today, 5th December 2022. If you have individuals on zero-hours contracts it's important that you ensure your contracts are compliant with the new regulations and that your contracts as a whole are fair and not exploiting those on zero-hours contracts. It's estimated that the new regulations will affect around 1.5 million workers in the UK.

What is an exclusivity clause?

Exclusivity clauses, which restrict staff from working with multiple employers, have been void and unenforceable in zero-hours contracts since 2015. However, this left a gap in protection for low-paid workers who were guaranteed at least some hours work each week.

What do the regulations say?

  • Any exclusivity clauses in affected pre-existing contracts are now void and unenforceable

  • The banning of exclusivity clause now extends those workers earning less that the Lower Earnings Limit. In the current financial year 2022-2023, the LEL is £123 a week.

  • Employers should not subject an affected worker to detriment or dismissal for breaching a void exclusivity clause

  • The Regulations make it automatically unfair to dismiss an employee if the reason or principal reason for the dismissal is they breached an exclusivity term. Workers are protected in terms of this type of dismissal from day 1 so there's no qualifying period like there is for someone claiming unfair dismiss on a standard permanent contract of employment

What are the consequences of breaching the regulations?

If a case goes to an employment tribunal and the tribunal feels that an individual has suffered detriment because of an exclusivity clause it can award as much compensation as it considers ‘just and equitable’, up to an amount equal to the basic and compensatory awards available for unfair dismissal.

What do I do if I think I've got exclusivity clauses in my zero-hours contracts?

Get your contracts double-checked by an expert. Exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts were banned in 2015 so if you have contracts that have been drawn up more recently you may well be ok, but to be safe we'd advise you get your contracts double-checked to make sure they're compliant.

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  • All information within this post is provided for guidance only, always seek your own legal advice

  • The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, December 2022 but may be subject to change

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