Zero hours contracts seem to have slipped from the news in recent months but this week some new regulations come into force that significantly bolster the rights of workers engaged under a zero hours contract.

The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 make any dismissal automatically unfair where the reason for the dismissal is that the employee breached an exclusivity term in the contract i.e. one that prohibited the employee from working for anyone else.

Such exclusivity clauses have been banned since May 2015 when the Employment Rights Act 1996 was amended to outlaw them.

In addition to the unfair dismissal right, workers have the right not to suffer a detriment for having breached an exclusivity clause.

These new rights apply regardless of length of service of the worker and therefore the normal 2 years service required for ordinary unfair dismissal claims doesn’t apply.

According to the Office for National Statistics there are approximately 750,000 workers engaged on zero hours in the UK. Therefore these new rules affect a significant number of workers.

What do your contracts state?

If your organisation uses zero hours workers then, if you haven’t already done so, it would be advisable to ensure they have been drafted to comply with the current law. If you have any queries about this article or any HR / employment law issues then please contact us at, on 01483 411533 or your normal EmployLaw contact.