November 14, 2022

The ban on Exclusivity clauses

This post was written by: Laaibah Bhatti

The Exclusivity Terms for Zero Hours Workers (Unenforceability and Redress) Regulations 2022 will come into effect on 5th December 2022. 

What are exclusivity clauses?

An exclusivity clause in an employment contract is a clause which restricts employees and/or workers from also taking on additional work or entering into any other working arrangement with another employer.  They are relatively frequent and often also require the worker to obtain an employer’s consent before undertaking work for anyone else.

The ban on exclusivity clauses for zero hours workers has been in place for some time now.  However, these regulations will extend that protection to include any workers who earn less than the Lower Earnings Limit (currently £123 a week) ensuring that such workers are not restricted by exclusivity terms also.

It will give such workers the right to take on additional employment without being subjected to detriment and/or unfair dismissal where applicable.  Importantly, the qualifying period of two years will not be required under such circumstances.

It is hoped that these measures will;

  • Increase participation in the labour market generally;
  • Allow workers and employees to gain more flexibility and control;
  • Drive higher employment and fill gaps in many industries; and
  • Encourage greater economic growth.

The government aims to give businesses the confidence to hire and retain workers and to provide their workforce with the skills and experience that they need to progress in work.  For those who are vulnerable due to the cost-of-living crisis, these measures will help to ensure that low-income workers can boost their incomes with additional work should they wish.

Companies will need to be conscious of these changes so that they do not unintentionally pursue an invalid exclusivity clause or impose an existing one in circumstances which are now banned by the regulations.

Employment law is a fast-moving area of the law. To ensure the contracts you use are up to date and in line with current legislation, please contact us for a free no-obligation review.

For more information, please contact Ilinca Mardarescu (Head of Employment) on