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Exclusivity clauses excluded from zero hour contracts


The poor practice of exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts maintained by retailers such as Sports Direct has been successfully banned. New rules affirm that zero hour contracts that come into effect from today onwards, will not permit exclusivity clauses which prevent hourly staff working for other employers.

For too long the exclusivity clause has meant that employees on zero hour contracts could lose out on work for a significant period of time and therefore unable to earn a greater income elsewhere.

The new employment conditions were initially proposed by the former government and largely promoted by Vince Cable, the former business secretary. Today, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has secured the prevention of exclusivity clauses in contracts which do not secure any hours.

“Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts prevent people from boosting their income when they have no guarantee of work,” Boles, Minister of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said. “Banning these clauses will 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” he added.

Whilst this shows positive progression in employment conditions, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills stated that “concern has been voiced that zero hour contract employers could potentially sidestep the exclusivity ban, for example by offering contracts that guarantee just one hour of work. Clearly that is not right”.  

Talya Misiri 

Published on Tuesday 26 May by Editorial Assistant

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