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Ministers to consider outlawing exclusivity on zero hours contracts

Companies could be banned from imposing exclusivity on zero hours contracts which offer no guarantee of work and stop employees from working for another company, under new proposals announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable. These measures come as part of efforts to boost fairness for workers.

 In a consultation launched at the end of last year, the government is also outlining proposals on ways to tackle the lack of transparency in the way zero hours contracts are currently being used and improve guidance for both employers and employees around their use.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“A growing number of employers and individuals today are using zero hours contracts. While for many people they offer a welcome flexibility to accommodate childcare or top up monthly earnings, for others it is clear that there has been evidence of abuse around this type of employment which can offer limited employment rights and job security.

"We believe they have a place in today’s labour market and are not proposing to ban them outright, but we also want to make sure that people are getting a fair deal.”

The 12 week public consultation will seek views on a range of proposals including:

  • proposals to potentially ban the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that offer no guarantee of work
  • new advice and guidance to improve transparency around the use of zero hours contracts for employers and employees

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