Sports Direct takes action on zero hours contracts

The sports retailer, Sports Direct, has agreed to rewrite the employment contracts of its zero-hours staff. A Sports Direct employee brought a claim in an Employment Tribunal against the company, arguing that its zero-hours policy led to sex discrimination and unfair treatment and affected employees’ holiday rights.

As part of a settlement agreed out of court, Sports Direct has agreed to rewrite its contracts of employment and also its job adverts in order to make it clear that zero-hours workers are not guaranteed work. It will also provide staff with clear policies on how their sick pay and holiday entitlement are affected by zero-hours contracts. This will affect over 20,000 Sports Direct staff.

Although this was not as a result of a court ruling against the company, the case shows that steps are continuing to be taken against the use of zero-hour contracts.

Meanwhile, a Government consultation on the subject has now come to an end. The consultation asked for suggestions on how to prevent employers from finding loopholes in its ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hour contracts. Exclusivity clauses mean that workers are not permitted to work for anyone else, even if they are not given any hours by their employer. It was announced in June that the use of these clauses would be banned in order to protect workers.

The consultation period finished on 3 November and the results are expected to be published soon.

SportsKenneth Rees