Following its proposal to ban ‘exclusivity clauses’ in zero hours contracts (ZHCs), the Government has launched a public consultation on how it can effectively prevent employers from circumventing such a ban.

The Government announced its proposed ban on ZHC exclusivity clauses earlier this Summer and further details can be found in our e-brief here. The vehicle for this change in the law is the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which is due to be debated in the House of Commons in October. If passed, the Bill will prevent employers relying on a contractual clause that prohibits a zero hours worker from working for someone else.  However, the Government is concerned that it will be easy for employers to circumvent the ban and its new consultation seeks views on how that can be avoided. The consultation paper gives the following examples as potential avoidance mechanisms that it wants to tackle: drafting contracts in such a way as to fall outside the Bill’s definition of a ‘zero hours contract’ such as by offering a nominal number of guaranteed hours; or not providing work to individuals simply because they have taken work elsewhere.

The consultation paper can be found here. The closing date for responses is 3 November.