2016 is set to be an important year for Employment Law reforms, particularly in HR areas. As of January 11, amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 have introduced provisions that prohibit exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts.
This is a significant update to the law and could have serious repercussions for employers across the country. Since the global financial crisis, zero hour contracts have been widespread throughout the UK. Many major organisations, including Sports Direct, McDonalds and Tesco, employ approximately 90% of their workforce on this type of contract.
Therefore, these updates to Employment Law have notable implications for a large proportion of the country’s working population.
In May 2015, the Government took initial steps to prevent the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts. These clauses stopped workers from seeking alternative employment, despite the fact that they were not guaranteed to receive work. Furthermore, these clauses would be held as grounds for dismissal if staff pursued more work.
These latest amendments have pushed the ban on exclusivity clauses into law, consequently offering protection to workers on zero hour contracts. This legislation allows these workers the right to an employment tribunal if they are dismissed or mistreated for seeking work elsewhere.
Zero hour contracts are agreements where
there is no obligation for employers to provide work, or workers to accept it.
Most of these contracts give staff ‘worker’ status in the eyes of the law,
entitling them to rest breaks, annual holiday, sick pay and National minimum
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