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Zero-hours contracts under government scrutiny

27 August 2014

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Employers have been asked to help uncover the loopholes in government plans to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. 

A consultation launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable aims to discover whether some employers will try to avoid the ban by offering work contracts which would guarantee just one hour of work, for example. 

Employers, unions and individuals have been asked how changes to zero-hours rules could be manipulated. 

Cable is considering introducing civil penalties to make it easier for workers to seek retribution if treated unfairly by their employer while signed up to a zero-hours contract. 

The consultation follows an announcement in June that the government will ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. 

Cable said: We are tightening the screws on rogue employers who try to abuse workers on zero hours contracts.

“The evidence shows that the vast majority of zero hours contracts have been used responsibly by many businesses for many years, but unfortunately we know that some abuse does take place. This is why we are bringing in new laws to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, which currently stop employees getting other jobs if they need to top up their income.

“We want to give individuals the chance to find work that suits their individual circumstances whilst also giving employers the confidence to hire and create new jobs.”