Earlier this week, the government moved to enforce a ban on exclusivity clauses on zero-hour contracts, which had prevented workers on these contracts from being able to find work elsewhere, Shout 99 reports.
Previously, employers who signed workers up to zero-hours contracts were able to stop their employees from working for another company, even if they were unable to guarantee any hours of work themselves.
These contracts have been contested by a number of groups, from trade unions to the Labour party, who argued that they left zero-hour workers in an impossible position with no guaranteed source of income.
After an extensive public consultation, the Government recently imposed a ban on these controversial clauses as part of a provision in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act. As of 26 May, it is now illegal for an employer to prevent staff on zero-hour contracts from seeking work elsewhere.
Nick Bowles, minister for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, said that the decision to ban exclusivity clauses would “give working people the freedom to take other work opportunities and more control over their work hours and income. It brings financial security one step closer for lots of families.”
Meanwhile, Neil Carberry – CBI Director for Employment and Skills – called the new legislation “a proportionate response to tackling examples of poor practice.”
However, he warned that further regulation “must not damage the UK’s flexible labour market,” which he argues is “an important success story of our economy, benefiting employers and employees alike”.