CIPP survey on the consultation to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

01 October 2014

Last summer the Government conducted an informal information gathering exercise on zero hours contracts in response to concerns about abuse of this type of contract by a small number of employers. The CIPP Policy Team have now issued a survey to collect views on this issue.

Following the review, the Government launched a public consultation seeking views on:

• The merit of banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts;

• Whether a code of practice should be introduced covering the fair use of these contracts generally; and

• How useful people found existing information, advice and guidance.

The key findings from that consultation were:

• 83% supported a ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts;

• 71% felt that such a ban would not discourage employers from creating jobs; and

• More should be done with regard to improving existing information, advice and guidance as only 14% found existing information ‘very helpful’, and 42% found existing information ‘not helpful’. In addition, some respondents believed that sector-specific codes of practice, developed by business groups and staff bodies, could benefit some sectors.

The evidence collected over the past year suggests that zero hours contracts have generally been used responsibly in a range of sectors for many years. It has also shown that these contracts can support business flexibility, and provide individuals with more choice to combine work with other commitments. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that some abuse does take place. As a result the Government is now taking action by banning the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that do not guarantee any hours.

The next challenge is to ensure that any potential loopholes that could be used to avoid that ban are closed. Therefore, the Government has issued a further consultation asking for views on a range of potential actions it could take to tackle potential avoidance as well as considering routes for redress. The CIPP policy team has issued a survey to collect these views. The survey will close on 24 October and we would be very grateful if you could spare ten minutes to let us know what you think.