Zero Hours Employment Contracts: Banning exclusivity clauses - tackling avoidance

Closed 3 Nov 2014

Opened 25 Aug 2014



Earlier this year, over 35,000 people responded to our previous zero hours contracts consultation.  And, as part of the Small Business Bill, we committed to ban so-called exclusivity clauses in this part of contracts. 

We are now seeking your views on the best ways to approach that ban, in particular the mechanisms that we can put in place to prevent avoidance of the ban.

Specifically, we want your views on:

  • What the likelihood of employers avoiding a ban on exclusivity clauses might be and how that might be achieved;
  • Whether the Government should do more to deal with potential avoidance, how might that be best achieved, and whether to do this alongside the ban or wait for evidence of whether such avoidance is taking place;
  • How potential avoidance could be dealt with;
  • Whether there should be consequences for an employer if they circumvent a ban on exclusivity clauses and, if so, what those consequences should be; and
  • Whether there are any potentially negative or unintended consequences as a result of the wording of the legislation.


Why your views matter

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has introduced a provision that will ban the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts which do not guarantee any hours (so called zero hours contracts). However, stakeholders have raised concerns, stating that employers could potentially sidestep the exclusivity ban, for example by offering contracts that guarantee just one hour of work. Therefore this consultation seeks views on tackling avoidance


What happens next

After considering the responses, the Government will use the views submitted to help inform the implementation of the zero hours contracts provisions in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.


  • SMEs (small and medium businesses)
  • Large businesses (over 250 staff)
  • Multinational businesses
  • Trade bodies
  • Legal representative
  • Medium business (50 to 250 staff)
  • Micro business (up to 9 staff)
  • Small business (10 to 49 staff)
  • Employment advisers
  • Businesses
  • Individual employees
  • Individual


  • Workplace rights
  • Flexible working