Policy Response

Zero hours employment contracts

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Zero hours employment contracts

Published March 2014

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In March 2014, the CIPD responded to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills consultation on zero hours contracts, which focused on the use of exclusivity clauses in employment contracts where there is no guarantee of work. 

The consultation sought views on whether the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours employment contracts can be justified, whether existing employment law should be strengthened, and whether Government should issue guidance on the use of zero hours contracts. 

In response to the consultation, the CIPD called for exclusivity clauses to be banned in employment contracts where there is no guarantee of work, where there is no adequate or compelling business reason for their use. 

The CIPD also calls for the Government to publish comprehensive guidance for the reference of employers and employees on zero hours contracts in order to set out best practice in the use of this type of flexible employment relationship. 

In the response, the CIPD additionally calls on Government to legislate to allow employees the ‘right to request’ a set number of working hours per week, where an individual on a zero hours contract has been working for an employer for a period of twelve months or more. 

The CIPD also calls on Government to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to ensure that all workers are legally entitled to a written copy of their contractual terms and conditions not later than two months in employment (currently this provision only exists for those who have ‘employee’ status).