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Zero Hour Exclusivity Act of 2015
An Act to ban exclusivity clauses in zero-hour contracts; and for connected purposes
BE IT ENACTED, by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
(1)In this section “zero hours contract” means a contract of employment or other worker’s contract under which—
(a)the undertaking to do or perform work or services is an undertaking to do so conditionally on the employer making work or services available to the worker, and
(b)there is no certainty that any such work or services will be made available to the worker.
(2) <"Act" has the same meaning as in Section 21 of the Interpretation Act 1978.>
For this purpose, an employer makes work or services available to a worker if the employer requests or requires the worker to do the work or perform the services.
Any provision of a zero hours contract which—
(a)prohibits the worker from doing work or performing services under another contract or under any other arrangement, or
(b)prohibits the worker from doing so without the employer’s consent,
is unenforceable against the worker.
Power to make further provision in relation to zero hours workers
(1)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the purpose of securing that zero hours workers, or any description of zero hours workers, are not restricted by any provision or purported provision of their contracts or arrangements with their employers from doing any work otherwise than under those contracts or arrangements.
(2)The worker’s contracts which may be specified by virtue of subsection (2)(c) are those in relation to which the Secretary of State considers it appropriate for provision made by the regulations to apply, having regard, in particular, to provision made by the worker’s contracts as to income, rate of pay or working hours.
(3)In this section “non-contractual zero hours arrangement” means an arrangement other than a worker’s contract under which—
(a)an employer and an individual agree terms on which the individual will do any work where the employer makes it available to the individual and the individual agrees to do it, but
(b)the employer is not required to make any work available to the individual, nor the individual required to accept it,and in this section “employer”, in relation to a non-contractual zero hours arrangement, is to be read accordingly.
(4)Provision that may be made by regulations under subsection (1) includes provision for—
(i)zero hours contracts;
(ii)non-contractual zero hours arrangements;
(iii)other worker’s contracts;
(b)imposing financial penalties on employers;
(c)requiring employers to pay compensation to zero hours workers;
(d)conferring jurisdiction on employment tribunals;
(e)conferring rights on zero hours workers.
- Short title, commencement and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the Zero Hour Exclusivity Act of 2015.
(2) This Act comes into force on upon Royal assent
(3) This Act extends to the whole of England
Calvin Ward Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
For too long, too many people in this country have felt as if they live in a country that does not work for them, even if they work for it. Too many people who work hard, play by the rules and still feel as if they have nothing to show for it. As elected representatives we must be resolute that this is unacceptable.
There is perhaps no greater display of this the plague of exclusivity clauses for zero hour contracts. Mr. Speaker, if a barmaid, or a cleaner, or a fast food worker or even those who work in Buckingham Palace cannot get the promise of a full week's wage to support themselves and their families, it is absolutely right that they should be able to find that wage elsewhere. Yet for all too many in the country this is impossible due to exclusivity clauses.
Mr. Speaker, if an employee is signed up to a zero hours contract with an exclusivity clause they are not able to seek employment elsewhere. For too many workers that leaves them locked into a job which does not guarantee them any hours, any wage, and prevents them from being unable to seek that wage elsewhere.
This isn't just shockingly immoral and unfair, these sort of punitive contracts laugh in the face of those who wish to work hard and make an honest living - it disincentivises work. With this piece of legislation, this government will make it absolutely clear that we intend to create a labour market that is fairer for workers by banning these clauses. There are many other problems associated with zero hours contracts, Mr. Speaker, that this government fully intends to address. We're told they're good because they're flexible, and yet the power in this flexibility lies all too often in the employers' hands and not their employees'. This is the first crucial step in ensuring that the power dynamic between both is balanced more fairly.
I strongly expect this legislation to appeal to all sides of the House, Mr. Speaker. Labour, when in Opposition, pushed forward a motion that implored the House to ban exclusivity clauses for zero hours contracts, which the Conservatives had voted for. On top of that Mr. Speaker when attempting to criticise the government, the Shadow Home Secretary bemoaned the plague of 'underemployment.' I agree that underemployment is a huge problem for many workers in Britain Mr. Speaker, which is why this government will act where the Conservatives had failed to. I am incredibly proud to be supporting this bill and urge all of my colleagues across the House to vote in its favour.
"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.