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New Zero Hour Contract Guidelines Introduced: Employment Issues in 2016

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.”

Workplace Attitudes in the UK: Employee Study Findings

The news regarding the new legislation for those on zero hour contracts comes following a study regarding wages and happiness in the workplace in the UK. According to the report, almost 50% of the UK workforce will be on the lookout for a new job in 2016. The Job Exodus Trends found that nearly a third of employees say they are miserable in their jobs due to a combination of poor management (43%) and not feeling valued in their place of work (39%).

Unsatisfactory pay was another major reason employees were unhappy in their current roles with 38% of respondents citing this. However, according to the vast majority, getting a pay rise would not solve the problem of being badly managed or feeling undervalued.

Minimum Wage, Underpayment and Gender Inequality: Contact Us

2016 will also see a minimum wage increase. However, many workers in the UK remain underemployed and believe they are underpaid. According to some experts, despite many initiatives to improve the gender pay gap, the issue is still exceptionally prominent in 2016.

If you believe you have the right to take employment action if you are currently on a zero hour contract and an exclusivity clause, our team can help. We offer support for many employment issues including minimum wage, unfair dismissal, equal pay and discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Enlist the help of our employment solicitors today using our online contact form.

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