December 11, 2020
In response to the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, the UK government is seeking to ban exclusivity clauses for nearly 2 million workers with a weekly income of less than £120.
The ban will allow low-income workers the option to take on extra part-time and flexible jobs with other employers. The UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimates it could also allow employers to tap into a larger pool of part-time workers.
“Following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are not always in a position to offer enough hours for every worker,” the UK government said in a statement. “If more workers are able to take on additional work, on short hours contracts, this could also increase businesses’ confidence to create jobs with contracts which suit them and their current circumstances.”
Why it's important: In the United States, non-compete agreements are also being targeted, with various states and localities considering or enacting restrictions. It could also become a priority in the Biden administration with the Federal Trade Commission as a focal point. The challenge for employers will be ensuring that agreements with highly-paid executives and individuals with access to sensitive proprietary information are not covered by the restrictions.