Trade body UKHospitality says the proposals, announced yesterday (9 May) by Business Minister Paul Scully, will benefit firms facing ongoing recruitment struggles.
The reforms will widen the ban on exclusivity clauses, which restrict staff from working for multiple employers, to contracts where the guaranteed weekly income is on or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week.
An estimated 1.5 million workers are earning on or below £123 a week and the new reforms are intended to ensure that workers in this group that have exclusivity clauses are able to top up their income with extra work if they choose.
The Government says the move will give workers more flexibility over when and where they work to best suit their personal circumstances such as childcare or study, including the option of working multiple short-hours contracts.
“While not everyone will want a second job, the reforms will remove red tape that prevents those who want to do so – for example, gig economy workers, younger people, or those from disadvantaged backgrounds facing barriers to entering the labour market,” says Scully.
“By giving more workers the option to take on additional work on short hours contracts, the reforms could also help increase businesses’ confidence to create jobs with contracts which suit them and their current circumstances.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, notes that the hospitality sector has more than 160,000 vacancies currently, double that of pre-pandemic levels, and recruitment is a key challenge for operators looking to rebuild and recover following the last two years.
“Pre-pandemic the industry generated £130bn in economic activity and contributed £39bn of tax to the Exchequer,” she says.
“To fully recover and, crucially, to play an optimal role in the national economic recovery, we need to attract and retain good people at all levels. Offering flexibility is a critical part of this.
“People are at the very heart of what we do and the sector offers a wide range of fulfilling roles and careers for people of all ages, levels of experience and expertise.”