Although not applicable in Northern Ireland, the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations came into effect in GB this week.
From 11/1/16 The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 come into effect.
Section 27A(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that a provision in a zero hours contract which prohibits the worker from doing work under any other arrangement is unenforceable.
Regulation 2 of these Regulations makes provision in relation to the right for individuals on a zero hours contract not to be unfairly dismissed or subjected to a detriment for a reason relating to a breach of a provision of a zero hours contract to which section 27A(3) of the 1996 Act applies.
Regulations 3 and 4 provide remedies for individuals, including compensation, by way of proceedings in employment tribunals.
Regulation 5 requires the Secretary of State to review the operation and effect of these Regulations and publish a report within five years after they come into force and within every five years after that. Following a review it will fall to the Secretary of State to consider whether the Regulations should remain as they are, or be revoked or be amended. A further instrument would be needed to revoke the Regulations or to amend them.
The Employment Bill currently working its way through the Northern Ireland Assembly does not contain any regulation of zero hours contracts, however the issue may be addressed at some time in the future.