The former Liberal Democrat had pushed for changes to be made regarding the controversial area – which had become a hotspot for discussion in the lead-up to voting.Ed Miliband had pledged to end the “epidemic” of zero-hours contracts, while work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested they be rebranded as “flexible-hours contracts” in a bid to shake off the “scare stories” stirred up by Labour. The debate has discussed the added flexibility for both employees and employers, alongside the risk of workers being exposed to poor practice. Cable had pushed for a ban on exclusivity clauses, which has come into effect this month. This means that staff utilising a flexible employment agreement can work for more than one company without being disciplined or fired. It forms part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act, which received Royal Assent in March 2015. Neil Carberry, the director of employment and skills at CBI, said this was an important adjustment that should make a difference. “Banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts is a proportionate response to tackling examples of poor practice,” he said. Carberry also warned of too much additional action, suggesting that “any further regulation must not damage our flexible labour market”. Read more on the Small Business Act:
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Business groups including the CBI, Institute of Directors and the Adam Smith Institute had previously said flexible contracts were actually popular with many workers, and providing too many conditions could threaten jobs. A survey carried out in 2013 by the CIPD – the professional body for HR and people development – found that nearly half of zero-hours contract workers were satisfied with having no minimum contracted hours, and 27 per cent were dissatisfied. Some 23 per cent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. By Rebecca Smith
If you work regular hours for three months, Labour will give you a legal right to a regular contract, not a zero-hours contract.— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) April 1, 2015
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