Government to tighten control of zero-hour contracts

The Government has proposed tighter regulation of zero hours contracts, which could impact the way many spas and salons manage their staff costs.

In the introduction to the Queens Speech at the beginning of June, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to protect low-income workers with “crack down on abuse in zero hours contracts”. The move will be part of a new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Zero-hour contracts allow small business to employ staff on contracts that have no fixed hours, meaning they can offer more work during busy times but are not committed to paying them during quiet times when fewer staff are needed.

It is unclear exactly what measures will be taken to tighten the law but analysts have suggested it is likely to involve tighter control on businesses that impose exclusivity clauses with their zero-hour contracts.

Graham Richardson, director in the employment team at law firm Bond Dickinson said, “While it may be appropriate for the Government to take steps to prevent excessive use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, in some cases exclusivity clauses may be justified; for example, where firms are seeking to prevent a worker from working for a direct competitor…It would be sensible to distinguish working for competitors from a blanket ban on working for other employers.”