Exclusivity clauses under a zero hours contract (ZHC) requiring an individual to work exclusively for the company without any guarantee of work were banned in May 2016 by making them unenforceable, but without any compensation provision.

This has now been addressed, albeit without much publicity. From January 2016, any dismissal of a ZHC worker is automatically unfair if the main reason is they breached an exclusivity clause (written or verbal).  ZHC workers also have the right not to suffer any detriment (usually by not offering them any more work) if they work for another company in breach of an exclusivity clause.

Whilst these new rights should put a stop to exclusivity clauses, the main criticisms of ZHCs is the fact that some employers tend to use them for permanent posts to avoid paying benefits such as holidays and pensions and masquerading them as zero hours ‘flexible’ workers rather than for businesses where supply and demand fluctuates. However, the current Government has no intention of outlawing them.

The Government last year banned ‘exclusivity clauses’ which prevent employees on the contracts from working for another company, but has made clear that it will not outlaw the contracts outright.