The Government has published its response to consultation on tackling avoidance of the prohibition on exclusivity terms in zero hours contracts – the ban is in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill that is currently going through Parliament. The key proposals emerging from the consultation are:
- The consultation responses revealed that avoidance would be relatively simple, so regulations to deal with this will come into force at the same time as the ban itself.
- The prohibition on exclusivity clauses is to be extended to cover not just zero hours contracts but all contracts of employment or workers' contracts under which the individual is not guaranteed a certain level of weekly income. The threshold of weekly income, below which an employer would not be able to demand exclusivity, would be set by multiplying the agreed number of hours by the adult national minimum wage rate (currently £6.50).
- Exclusivity clauses will be permitted if the hourly rate of pay under the contract is more than £20.
- Zero hours workers will have the right not to suffer detriment on the grounds that they have worked under another contract. As well as compensation for breach for the worker, the existing provisions for tribunals to award financial penalties in cases where employment rights are breached and there are aggravating features will apply.