Zero hours – A step forward
The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 (“the Regulations”), in force as of 11th January 2015 now provide some concrete protection for zero hours workers.
The Regulations make any dismissal of an employee working under a zero hour contract automatically unfair if the principal reason for dismissal is that the employee breached a contractual clause preventing them for working for another employer;
Unlike a straightforward unfair dismissal claims there is no qualifying period of service (i.e. 2 years’ service is required to pursue an unfair dismissal claim);
It is prohibited under the Regulations to subject a zero hour worker to any detriment if they were to work for another employer in breach of a contractual clause that aims to prevent them from doing so. The exclusivity clause is unenforceable.
Zero hours contracts remain contentious and open to abuse but, if utilised correctly, and with the full co-operation of both worker and engaging employer, they can be highly effective in that they can provide flexibility for both parties.
Equal Pay & 2016
This year will be an eventful one in the development of gender and equal pay reporting. Keep your eyes out for the decision in the case of Brierley and ors v Asda Stores, a group claim where the claimants, both male and female are looking to compare their jobs in retail stores against the roles of colleagues who work in distribution centres. The issue to be decided is ‘work of equal value.’
This ties in nicely with gender pay reporting requirements as the gender pay reporting Regulations have to come into force shortly given that they have to be introduced within 12 months of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 having been passed, which took place on 25th March 2015.
The reporting Regulations will apply to all employers in any sector with more than 250 employees.