Zero Hours Contracts: New Anti-Avoidance Measures Announced

Gillian Cumming
Gillian Cumming
Senior Solicitor
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Earlier this year we told you of the government’s plans to ban ‘exclusivity clauses’ which prevent zero-hours workers from working for other employers. The legislation that will implement this change is expected before Parliament is dissolved.

Some concerns were raised in relation to the potential for employers to avoid the government’s new protection of zero-hour workers by, for example, using contracts that offer one hour per week instead of zero.

In response to this, the government launched a consultation on how to deal with avoidance and what the consequences should be for employers who continue to use exclusivity clauses in their contracts.

The government’s new proposal is to extend the ban on exclusivity clauses to ‘prescribed contracts’, where the worker is not guaranteed a certain level of income. That level will be determined by multiplying an agreed number of hours by the national minimum wage (NMW) rate to ensure that the threshold of income increases in line with the NMW over time.

The government has also decided that the protections described above should not apply to high earners and so will not apply where the hourly rate of pay under the contract is more than £20.

View our expert’s comments about the National Minimum Wage Changes here.

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