Zero hours contracts that prevent employees from taking other jobs will be banned, according to a draft speech by Business Secretary, Vince Cable.

Mr Cable is expected to announce a crackdown on “unscrupulous employers” who restrict employees without giving them adequate hours. However, he will also say that zero hours contracts themselves will not be banned and that they have an important place in today’s labour market. He will say:

“[Zero hours contracts] offer valuable flexible working opportunities for students, older people and other people looking to top up their income and find work that suits their personal circumstances.

“But it has become clear that some unscrupulous employers abuse the flexibility that these contracts offer to the detriment of their workers. We are legislating to clamp down on abuses to ensure people get a fair deal.”

The UK government curry estimates that 125,000 employees are currently effected by exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. The call to ban these clauses was welcomed by business groups. John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The ban on exclusivity clauses, which bind workers to one firm is a balanced way of addressing concerns. However the government must ensure that any further changes do not jeopardise business flexibility or employment opportunities.”

Image by Leo Reynolds