Under new government plans, the ban on employers putting exclusivity clauses into zero-hour contracts will be extended to cover employment contracts for the UK’s lowest earners. The move has been welcomed, with hopes that it will improve flexibility and opportunities for groups such as gig economy workers.
The plans, announced by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), would see the ban on exclusivity clauses applied to contracts in which the employee is paid at the Lower Earnings Limit or lower. This limit is currently £123 per week and the extension means the ban on exclusivity clauses will cover an additional 1.5 million workers.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), commented: “The extension of the ban on exclusivity clauses is welcome. By cutting back on these restrictive clauses, the opportunity to find more flexible work will be open to more people.”
Exclusivity clauses are sometimes used by employers to prevent their staff from working for different companies and often mean that lower paid workers are prevented from taking on second jobs. Such clauses were banned for zero-hour contracts in 2015.
Announcing the extension of the ban, Business Minister Paul Scully commented: “We are putting more control into the hands of the lowest paid, giving them the freedom to decide who they work for and how often.”
“As well as supporting workers to increase their income, the reforms will also benefit businesses by widening the talent pool of job applicants to those who may have been prevented from applying for roles due to an exclusivity clause with another employer, and also helps businesses to fill vacancies in key sectors like retail and hospitality.”
Scully added: “The reforms will allow low-paid workers to reskill and make the most of new opportunities in existing sectors with growing labour demand.”
Author: Steven English