New Rights for Zero Hours Employees

Employees working on ‘zero hours’ contracts can now bring claims of detriment and unfair dismissal against employers who sack them over ‘exclusivity’.

The start of 2016 has seen zero hours contracts return to the spotlight.  Despite attracting a great deal of public debate, press attention and criticism from organisations such as Acas last year, zero hours contracts are still being used to recruit individuals for casual work.

Whilst an employer is not obliged to offer any work under the terms of standard zero hours contracts, allowing them the flexibility to respond to changing market conditions, an employee does not have to undertake any work he or she does not want to do and can  work for more than one employer.

Employers have sought to get around this by adding clauses to zero hours that prevent employees working for anyone else, but new laws have come into force that state, under the provisions of The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, these are unenforceable.

‘The logic is that employers cannot have their cake and eat it too,’ explains Sue Ball, Head of Employment at Verisona Law.  ‘They cannot absolve themselves of responsibility and loyalty with a zero hours contract and expect to receive it back.’

‘If employers subject a worker to a detriment or dismiss an employee because he or she has ignored an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, they could find themselves facing expensive claims. Employers using these contracts need to scrutinize their processes and all correspondence related to the allocation of work.’

‘However, all claims of unfair dismissal will be subject to the Acas early conciliation rules and employees bringing such claims will not need to show they have the two year qualifying period of employment that applies to some types of unfair dismissal claims.’

If you would like more information please contact Sue Ball.


Here are the types of cases we handle:

  • Contracts of Employment
  • Employer Staff Handbooks
  • Redundancy Process
  • Breach of Contract
  • Breach of Restrictive Covenants
  • Tribunal Claims
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Consultancy Agreements

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  • Contracts of Employment
  • Service Agreements
  • Contractual Issues
  • Executive Departures

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