Some important changes to the rights and protections of employees and workers on zero hours contracts take effect today.

They are:-

  1. any dismissal of a zero hour employee will be automatically unfair, if the principal reason is that the employee has breached a contractual clause prohibiting him or her from working for another employer;
  2. no qualifying period of service will be required for the zero hour employee to bring such an unfair dismissal claim;
  3. it will be unlawful to submit a zero hour worker to detriments if they work for another employer in breach of a clause prohibiting them from doing so. (Note that this protection applies to “workers” rather than to “employees” so this protection will potentially apply to a wider group of staff).

Zero hours workers will undoubtedly welcome these changes on the grounds that they address some of the more controversial aspects of this type of working arrangement. The extent to which the changes will affect employers however remains to be seen.

The changes are contained in The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015.

If you would like further information on zero hours contracts or any other employment issues please contact Ann Frances Cooney, Senior Associate, Employment on 0141 574 2312 or