20 December 2013
Cable considers zero hour exclusivity ban
Business secretary Vince Cable has disclosed he is considering a ban on zero hour contract exclusivity.
Currently, firms are allowed to require employees in these agreements to not seek employment elsewhere but campaigners claim this is harming the labour force and preventing flexibility.
Mr Cable has been a long-term supporter of zero hour contracts but believes these exclusivity arrangements are not fair on low-income personnel and wants to do something about it before the 2015 election, as it could present a threat to his party's claims it is on the side of the workers and not the corporations.
Labour has been highly critical of the government's stance on employment rights and believes the coalition needs to do more to improve what it calls a cost-of-living crisis, amid rising prices for food, utilities and fuel.
To combat this issue, Mr Cable has launched a consultation that will look to improve the transparency of these types of contracts and part of this will involve looking at banning exclusivity clauses.
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," Mr Cable said.
"Employers need flexible workforces and people should have the choice in how they work."
The business community has enjoyed the introduction of zero hour contracts as they massively improve their access to short-term workers but a number of activists have said it is harming the ability of young families to earn a steady wage.
A recent study by the Work Foundation, a research arm of Lancaster University, found 250,000 people across the UK are currently employed via zero hour contracts and it is mostly used by the hospitality and healthcare sectors.
It was also determined that only 26 per cent of people on these types of contracts want longer hours than they currently get.
Posted by Francesca Witney
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