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Neil Andrews Partner Coles Miller

New Zero Hours Unfair Dismissal Pitfall For Employers11th Jan 2016

by on 11th Jan 2016


New legislation strengthens protection for employees on zero hours contracts, warn Coles Miller Solicitors.

Employees can now seek redress if their employer imposes an illegal exclusivity clause.Neil Andrews

They can complain to an employment tribunal if they are dismissed or treated detrimentally for breaching an exclusivity clause.

Exclusivity clauses were intended to stop zero hours employees from working for other employers. They were banned under last year’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.

Until now, employees had little recourse if their employers broke this rule - now they do.

Coles Miller Partner Neil Andrews said: “This new ruling adds extra weight to protection which came into force last year.

“But this is where it gets complicated. Although the new rules give greater protection, it remains to be seen what this will mean in real terms.”

This is because of the way unfair dismissal compensation is calculated. Employment tribunals can make two awards:

  • Basic Award - based on a statutory formula which includes the complainant’s age, weekly pay and years of service (unlikely to be very high with a zero hours contract).
  • Compensation Award - based on how much money has been lost. (Again, this might not be much if the complainant has been working for other employers).

Mr Neil Andrews warned employers: “Beware of complacency. Do not let questions over compensation levels lull you into a false sense of security.

“This new ruling is a reminder that employers who issue zero hours contracts must comply with legislation banning exclusivity clauses.”

For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner and employment law specialist Neil Andrews, 01202 355695.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.