Consultation on zero hours contracts published

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The Government has put forward options for action on zero hours contracts, in a consultation published today.

For more details on the background to this consultation, the problem of defining a zero hours contract (ZHC) and the perceived abuse of ZHCs, see our earlier HR Briefing – From Zero to Hero.

The 12 week public consultation launched today seeks views on a range of proposals, in particular:

Proposals to clamp down the use of “exclusivity clauses”.

An “exclusivity clause” is a clause in a ZHC which prevents the employee from working for another employer, even though the ZHC does not guarantee them a minimum number of hours. The Government is concerned about the business justification for such clauses and their potential to operate unfairly on the employee.

The Government is seeking views on the following options:

  • Banning the use of exclusivity clauses through legislation
  • Issuing guidance on the fair use of exclusivity clauses
  • Helping to produce an employer-led Code of Practice on the fair use of exclusivity clauses
  • Doing nothing, but alerting employees to their existing legal rights to challenge such clauses as an unlawful restraint of trade

Proposals to improve transparency

The Government is considering new advice and guidance to improve transparency around the use of ZHCs for both employers and employees. The options which are being consulted on are:

  • Improving the content and accessibility of information, advice and guidance
  • Encouraging a broader, employer-led Code of Practice which covers the fair use of ZHCs generally
  • Producing model clauses for ZHCs

Have your say

Does your business use ZHCs? If so, we would like your views on these proposals.

Members who would like to contribute views and help shape EEF’s response should contact Verity O’Keefe, at vokeefe@eef.org.uk

Download the consultation

You can download a copy of the consultation here.

The closing date for responses is 13 March 2014.

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