Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts should be banned

Many people believe that zero hour contracts as a whole are a problem, however this is not the case. In certain circumstances zero hour contracts can be beneficial to both employer and employee. The problems with the contracts arise when they are abused. For example, people on zero hour contracts should be allowed to take a second part time job, but many employers implement clauses in the contracts preventing this.

The unpredictability of zero hour contracts mean that people often need a second income to support themselves. Therefore, in the best interest of staff, there shouldn’t be restrictions on this except in certain situations.

The CIPD is recommending that the government ban employers from using exclusivity clauses for zero hours contract workers unless they can demonstrate a compelling business reason for using them. I whole heartedly agree with this recommendation. People who are not receiving enough hours and are not earning enough income do not make happy workers. Job performance is likely to suffer and impact on the business as a whole.

The main points that the CIPD is in favour of are that:

  • Companies should not prevent workers from working for another employer.
  • After a period of 12 months an employee should be able to request a minimum number of hours per week.
  • ¬†Employees should be legally entitled to a written copy of their terms and conditions not later than two months in employment


Responses from more than 170 employees in a CIPD survey showed that in many instances zero hours contracts provide useful flexibility for both employers and employee.

The survey found 15% of workers on zero hour contracts say they are only sometimes allowed to work for another organisation when their primary employer has no work available and 9% say they are never able to work for another organisation in these circumstances. This is a worrying statistic that needs to be addressed.

There will of course have to be some exceptions where it wouldn’t be plausible for zero hour contract workers to take another position, for example where an employee working for a competitor may result in the loss of commercially sensitive information. However, in most regular circumstances it is unfair to expect people to turn down work if their current employer has no hours for them.

To find out more regarding zero hour contracts, please visit: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/research/zero-hours-contracts-myth-reality.aspx