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Vince Cable to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

Employers will no longer be able to prevent workers on zero hours contracts from finding work with more than one employer after Business Secretary Vince Cable announced plans to ban exclusivity clauses.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Vince Cable to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts

Exclusivity clauses prevent an individual from working for another employer, even when no work is guaranteed. Mr Cable said that some “unscrupulous” employers had abused the flexibility that the contracts offered.

The ban is set to benefit the 125,000 zero hours contract workers estimated to be tied to an exclusivity clause and will allow workers to look for additional work to boost their income.

Unions have been campaigning to get zero hours contracts banned. However, Mr Cable said yesterday: “Zero hours contracts have a place in today’s labour market. They offer valuable flexible working opportunities for students, older people and other people looking to top up their income and find work that suits their personal circumstances.”

Mr Cable said the government is committing to increase the availability of information for employees on the contracts. He added: “We will also work with unions and business to develop a best practice code of conduct aimed at employers who wish to use zero hours contracts as part of their workforce.”

The move follows a government consultation into zero hours contracts which received over 36,000 responses. 83% were in favour of banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contacts.

The Business Secretary also announced that the government will consult further on how to prevent rogue employers evading the exclusivity ban, for example through offering one hour fixed contracts. In addition, it will work with businesses and unions to develop a code of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts by the end of the year.

The ban will be part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is being introduced to Parliament today.

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