Financial News

  • 26 August 2014, 12:21

Cable Blitz On Loopholes In Zero-Hours Contracts

Business Secretary Vince Cable has called on businesses and trade unions to expose any loopholes in plans to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts, under which employers prevent people from working for someone else.

Mr Cable said he wants to crack down on any potential abuse of the contract law which might see "rogue" employers trying to find a way of offering just one hour of work.

Around 620,000 workers are employed on zero-hours contracts, which do not guarantee work from one week to the next.

Mr Cable said: "We are looking closely at any potential loopholes that could arise from a ban, to ensure that these are closed off and no one can get round the new law. We are also ensuring there is access to justice for workers treated unfairly.

"The evidence shows that the vast majority of zero-hours contracts have been used responsibly by many businesses for many years, but unfortunately we know that some abuse does take place.

"This is why we are bringing in new laws to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts, which  currently stop employees getting other jobs if they need to top up their income.

"We want to give individuals the chance to find work that suits their individual circumstances whilst also giving employers the confidence to hire and create new jobs".

Business representatives and trade unions have been asked to draw up codes of practice to help guide the fair use of zero-hours contracts.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said there was "much more the Government should be doing" to tackle the lack of uncertainty in such contracts.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the measures "do not go far enough".

"We have seen a rising tide of insecurity in the workplace since David Cameron came to office, with his Government watering down the rights at work of every working person in this country," he said.

"So it is unsurprising the Government has put forward the minimum it thought it could get away with to deal with exploitative zero-hours contracts. Their measures simply do not go far enough."

The exclusivity ban becomes law this autumn.

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