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Legal Updates

Zero hours - anti avoidance measures confirmed

24 March 2015 #Employment

The Government has confirmed the measures that it intends to take to tackle avoidance of the forthcoming ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. There will be new protection from detriment for zero-hours contract workers who take jobs under other contracts and a minimum income level below which exclusivity clauses will be unenforceable.

The Government has now published the proposed anti-avoidance measures intended to deal with attempts by employers to get around the restrictions by offering say one hour’s work a week. The new rules would define a ‘prescribed contract’, being a contract that does not guarantee the worker a specified minimum income. The minimum income will be defined by reference to an agreed number of hours multiplied by the minimum wage, to ensure that the minimum keeps pace with NMW rates. An exclusivity clause in a prescribed contract would then be unenforceable in the same way as an exclusivity clause in a zero-hours contract. However, this would not apply where the hourly rate for work under the contract is at least £20. The protection from detriment would apply equally to zero-hours contracts and prescribed contracts. It would be unlawful for an employer to subject a worker under such a contract to any detriment on the ground that the worker did work or performed services under another contract or arrangement.

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