e-briefing: Zero hours contracts – Queen’s Speech

The employment law focus in today’s Queen’s Speech will be on the proposed Industrial Relations Bill and the restrictions on the right to strike. However, some other changes were implemented yesterday, faster than expected, under the provisions of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEEA).
The most immediately significant is that exclusivity terms within zero hours contracts are now unenforceable in law. Zero-hours contracts are given a narrow legal definition for the first time as one under which a worker offers to undertake work on behalf of the employer on request, there being no guarantee of work. The new legal provision means that a contract which purports to prevent the worker from undertaking work for a different employer or to require the employer’s consent to do so is now unenforceable