The Government has confirmed in the Queens' Speech that it will tackle abuses in zero hours contracts. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is likely to include restrictions on the use of exclusivity clauses – restrictions preventing a worker undertaking work for anyone else, even if no work is offered under the zero hours contract – possibly a ban on exclusivity clauses in contracts where there is no minimum guarantee of work.
The Government's consultation paper, issued at the end of last year, accepted that such clauses might be warranted in some circumstances (to protect confidential information, for example) but expressed concern that they are being used where there is no real justification for them.
The consultation paper also expressed concerns that zero hours contracts are not sufficiently transparent and that workers are not necessarily aware of their rights under such a contract or the fact that they are not guaranteed work under it. It remains to be seen whether this issue might be tackled in the Bill or in supplementary guidance.