Government proposes to extend ban on ‘exclusivity clauses’

The move would ensure that the lowest paid workers are free to apply for second jobs

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Low-paid workers and employers are considering government proposals to extend the ban on ‘exclusivity clauses’ – which stop an employee from taking a second job with another employer – so that the lowest paid workers can no longer be stopped from doing so if they wish.

Currently, the ban only applies if a worker is on a zero-hours contract – where their employer is not obliged to provide them with minimum working hours and they are not obliged to take work offered to them. Under the new proposals, contained in a government response to a recent consultation, the ban on exclusivity clauses will also apply to workers whose guaranteed weekly income is at or below £123 – the Lower Earnings Limit.

If enacted, employers will not be able to stop their lowest paid workers from taking second jobs to help them make ends meet, which could create an extra 1.5m workers looking for second jobs. However, the limit of £123 per week equates to around 13 hours per week, assuming the minimum wage rates are payable, so it remains to be seen how many workers will benefit.

It is proposed that the new laws should also extend workers’ rights not to be unfairly dismissed or subjected to a detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause, and to claim compensation for breaches.

Employers should consider whether existing staff may apply for second jobs, whether the changes will allow the business to recruit more easily, and the implications.

The government has not yet announced when the proposals are to come into force but you can view the government response to the recent consultation on the GOV.UK website.

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Further resources

Access ACCA’s latest suite of employment factsheets