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BIS considers banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hour contracts

03 January 2014

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is considering banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hour contracts as part of efforts to boost fairness for workers.

Exclusivity on zero hours contracts, which offer no guarantee of work and stop employees from working for another company, is being reviewed under new proposals announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable – a public consultation has been launched seeking views on a range of proposals including the potential ban of the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that offer no guarantee of work; and new advice and guidance to improve transparency around the use of zero hours contracts for employers and employees.

BIS states that the launch of the consultation follows a fact-finding exercise that it carried out over the summer to explore how these contracts are currently being used.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: ‘Our research this summer gave us a much needed insight into both the positive and negative aspects of zero-hours contracts. Our consultation will now focus on tackling the key concerns that were raised, such as exclusivity clauses and how to provide workers with more protection. We don’t think that people should be tied exclusively to one employer if it unfairly stops them from boosting their income when they are not getting enough work to earn a living. We also want to give employees and employers more guidance and advice on these types of employment contracts.

‘Employers need flexible workforces and people should have the choice in how they work. But this shouldn’t be at the expense of fairness and transparency.’

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