The chief executive of the Derbyshire, Notts and Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement that he was outlawing the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts.
George Cowcher said the move was a sensible option.
Exclusivity contracts prevent employees from looking for work from other employers to boost their income.
Dr Cable also announced a consultation on how to stop rogue employers evading the ban.
The Office for National Statistics recently estimated that employers held 1.4 million contracts with workers that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours.
Of those, an estimated 125,000 workers are tied to an exclusivity clause.
Last year, Dr Cable ruled out an outright ban on the use of zero-hours contracts, saying they offered employers “welcome flexibility”.
A recent survey of businesses, carried out by the Chamber of Commerce for Derbyshire, Notts and Leicestershire, found that one in ten local respondents reported using zero-hours contracts, with two-thirds of those saying it was because their organisation required the flexibility these contracts allow.
Others used them to retain skills of experienced staff who have retired but are willing to carry on working on an “as and when” basis
They also used the to offer work to temporary staff when available, enable firms to cope with peaks in demand and cover sickness and holidays
“The ban on exclusivity clauses which tie workers to one employer without guaranteeing any income is a sensible move which will address concerns about the way in which some zero-hours contracts are used,” said Mr Cowcher.
“The Government must also ensure that any further changes to the regulation of zero-hours contracts do not jeopardise business flexibility or employment opportunities.
“Maintaining a flexible labour market is crucial to keeping unemployment down and promoting business growth.”
“Much of the negativity surrounding zero-hours contracts is based on a misunderstanding of the role they can play in creating and protecting jobs.
“Zero-hours contracts are a vital part of a successful jobs market.”
“But they must be fair, transparent and work for all parties.”
Announcing his plans earlier this week, Mr Cable said: “It has become clear that some unscrupulous employers abuse the flexibility that these contracts offer to the detriment of their workers,” he said.
‘We are legislating to clamp down on abuses to ensure people get a fair deal.”