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New rights for zero-hours workers
Alix Passey Brown
Date: 15th July 2016
New rules from 11 January 2016 give greater protection to zero-hours workers, protecting them from dismissal and discrimination if they look to work for another employer whilst engaged under a zero-hours contract.
Zero-hours workers enjoy a basic set of employment rights, such as the right to paid annual leave and to the National Minimum Wage for hours worked. Regulations were introduced in May 2015 to render exclusivity clauses unenforceable in zero-hours contracts.
To give these provisions greater force, as of 11 January 2016, any dismissal of a zero-hours worker because they work for, or provide services to, another employer, in breach of an exclusivity clause in a zero-hours contract, is automatically unfair.
It is also unlawful to subject a zero-hours worker to a detriment because he or she seeks to work for another employer in breach of an exclusivity provision in a zero-hours contract.
Given that exclusivity clauses are already effectively prohibited, the new regulations are likely to have limited impact. However, zero-hours workers now have a mechanism to enforce the prohibition on exclusivity clauses in an Employment Tribunal, should an employer seek to enforce them.