More protection for employees and workers on zero hours contracts

From January 11th 2016, employees and workers on zero hours contracts have a right to complain to an employment tribunal if they are dismissed or suffer detriment as a result of working for someone else in breach of an exclusivity clause.  Since May 2015, these clauses have been unenforceable and now, with the new measures, employees and workers can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal as a result. Prior to being outlawed exclusivity clauses were common in zero hours arrangements despite such agreements offering workers no guarantee of any minimum level of work.

Any dismissal of an employee on zero hours contract will now be automatically unfair if the principal reason for the dismissal is ignoring a restriction on working elsewhere. The employee will not need to have two years continuous service to make this claim, as is required in most unfair dismissal claims. Unfair dismissal protection applies only to employees engaged on contracts of employment. However, the new regulations also give workers engaged on contracts for services a right to complain in the event that they are subject to detriment for breaching an exclusivity clause.  This is likely to include many PAYE temps.

Employment businesses have always been subject to equivalent restrictions under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 as these regulations protect a work-seeker from being subjected to a detriment on the grounds that the work-seeker wishes to work elsewhere. The new rules apply to all employers which may be seen as a leveling of the playing field. However, candidates objecting to such clauses in agreements with unscrupulous recruiters will now have two possible courses of action: a compliant to Employment Agency Standards at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

If you are concerned about your arrangements, need advice on zero hours arrangements or want to know more, please contact Lawspeed on 01273 236 236.

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