Protection for Zero Hours Contract Workers – Comment

16th March 2016

As you are aware that over a period of time, there has been much debate in relation to the use of a zero hour’s contract. Discussion has centred around the fact that individuals who undertake these contracts have no protection.

The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour’s Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, came into force on 11th January 2016 to provide some protection to zero hours workers.

It will be interesting to see how many claims arise out of these new regulations.

A worker can seek remedy under these regulations not to be unfairly dismissed and the right not to be subjected to a detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause.   I do wonder how many employers have an exclusivity clause in the zero hours contract given that they were rendered unenforceable under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.  This means that an employer cannot stop an individual from looking for work or accepting work from another employer.   For those employers out there that still have an exclusivity clause in their contracts and force a zero hours worker to only work for them under these regulations, a worker can bring a claim.

The unfair dismissal will be automatically unfair, if it can be proved that the principle reason is that the worker breached a contractual clause prohibiting him or her from working for another employer.

Is this sufficient protection?  Only time will tell.[