New rules banning exclusivity clauses from zero hour contracts have come into effect today. This means that employers will not be able to prevent hourly staff from working for another employer.

The new laws were first suggested under the last government and supported by former business secretary Vince Cable. Any employer found preventing staff from working elsewhere could face legal implications under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment act.

Neil Carberry, CBI director for Employment and Skills, believes that a ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, “is a proportionate response to tackling examples of poor practice.”

 “But any further regulation must not damage our flexible labour market, which is an important success story of our economy, benefitting employers and employees alike.” Carberry says.

Thomas Eggar, associate and employment specialist Andrew Crudge, comments:

“You would struggle to find many people who are in favour of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. Even employers generally accept that to limit an employee’s right to work for another employer, while not guaranteeing them a minimum number of hours work, is completely unreasonable.

“However, employers and employees are divided as to whether further changes are needed. Employers are frustrated by what they see as the constant chopping and changing of their employment law obligations. Although this is a relatively minor change, Employers could be caught out if they fail to review and update their existing zero hours contracts.

“The Liberal Democrats were the main drivers of the employment law reforms in the last government. Before the election, further legislation limiting the use of zero hours contracts appeared likely. However, these Labour and Liberal Democrat proposals are now unlikely to surface under the Conservative majority government. Good news for employers perhaps, but not for the huge number of individuals on zero hours contracts who want to work guaranteed and regular hours.”