Good news this week – new provisions came into force through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. If you are employed on a zero hours contract then your employer is no longer entitled to insist on exclusivity. That means they can no longer stop you taking on other employment.
In the past you might have had an ‘exclusivity clause’ in your contract – this prevents an employee working or performing services under another contract, or prevents them from doing so without their employer’s consent. Effectively this would have meant that even if you weren’t working any hours with your zero hours employer then you wouldn’t have been able to take on any other work. If you did, your zero hours employer would have had a legitimate excuse to either disciple or sack you.
As of 26th May 2015 these ‘exclusivity clauses’ are are invalid and unenforceable. You can take on other work as and when you wish – it would be illegal to discipline you or sack you for doing so. You are now protected by section 153 of The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 which amends the Employment Act 1996 and inserts a new provision into s27A of the act.
There is one watch-out though – there is nothing in the legislation which prevents a zero hours employer from punishing those who take on additional work by reducing the hours they offer them. Perhaps this is an area which could be addressed in the next round of legislation.