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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Zero Hours Contracts

Employees now have the right to take employers to an employment tribunal if they are punished for breach of an exclusivity clause in their zero hour contract.

Under such contracts, staff members are not guaranteed any set hours meaning that their wage can vary from week to week, or they can be effectively frozen out of employment. While many companies opt to use zero-hour contracts, some also inserted an exclusivity clause meaning that they could fairly dismiss or prevent an employee from working for another organisation without consent.

Although such clauses have been banned since May 2015, the start of 2016 grants workers the powers to take legal action if they are still forced into such an agreement. The legislation gives workers working under a zero hours contract the right to complain to an employment tribunal where they are dismissed or suffer a detriment for working for another employer or asking their employer for permission to do so.

The government guidance reads: “An employer must allow the individual to take work elsewhere to earn an income if they do not offer sufficient hours.

“If an employer includes an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, the individual cannot be bound by it, the law states the individual can ignore it.

“An employer must not attempt to avoid the exclusivity ban by, for example, stipulating that the individual must seek their permission to look for or accept work elsewhere.”

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According to newly published figures, the number of people working for Glasgow City Council working on zero hour contracts has risen by 18% in a year. The numbers have led to severe criticism of the council with the organisation having “no contractual obligation to provide work".

The number of people on zero hour contracts now working for the government has risen to 1,689 people, up from 1,436 in the previous year.

The vast majority of those working for the council work in the employment sector with exam invigilators, classroom assistants and supply teachers all working with zero hour contracts.

As well as having some staff on such contracts, many of the city council’s “at arms length organisations” operate using zero hour contracts. Glasgow Life and Cordia both employ people on zero hours contracts, with the vast majority working in the hospitality and the "sports service" sectors.

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Business Secretary Vince Cable has this week launched a consultation into how best to tackle the problem of zero hour contracts. Cable is asking businesses, unions and individuals to help highlight and close potential ‘loopholes’ in the governments plan to outlaw the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published data estimating the number of people on zero-hours contracts to be around 1.4 million.

Following a survey of 5,000 employers, the results show that in January to February 2014 there were approximately 1.4 million employee contracts that didn't guarantee a minimum number of hours or pay. These zero-hours contracts (employment contracts in which an employer does not guarantee the individual any work and the individual is not obliged to accept any work offered) are currently being closely scrutinised because they do not safeguard workers.

The data shows that:

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The Government’s consultation on zero hours contracts has now closed, having received more than 30,000 responses.

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