More than one million part-time workers could be allowed to take-up second jobs and work extra shifts under new reforms that will be put forward to Parliament later this year.
The plan is to widen a ban on so-called “exclusivity contracts”, targeting low-paid staff who are restricted from working for multiple employers by their current boss.
Only those who are on zero hour contracts are currently covered by a 2015 ruling that prevents companies from banning them taking on shifts elsewhere.
The proposed reforms would see this extended to low-paid workers.
Those that will be covered include workers with a guaranteed weekly income that is on or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week.
The reforms will allow the lowest paid employees to be given the option to work extra shifts and earn more money as the cost of living crisis deepens.
Government ministers hope the new rules will see staff fill vacancies in key sectors like retail and hospitality when taking on other jobs.
The proposals follow the conclusion of a consultation launched by the Government in December 2020, which sought views on extending the ban on exclusivity clauses beyond zero hours contracts.
Business Minister Paul Scully said the proposals to extend the ban on the exclusivity clauses will put “more control into the hands of the lowest paid, giving them the freedom to decide who they work for and how often, including the option to top up their pay packet if they wish.”
He said: “We are creating a high skilled, high productivity labour market that supports workers by removing unnecessary red tape, helping the British people boost their incomes and keep more of what they earn.”
Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE, said the proposals are “welcome”.
He added: “By cutting back on these restrictive clauses, the opportunity to find more flexible work will be open to more people.”
However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the plans only “tinker around the edges” of the cost of living crisis and called for more support for low-paid workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ministers should ensure that workers can secure the hours of work they want and need.
“But this is tinkering around the edges.
“Widening the ban on exclusivity clauses alone isn’t nearly enough to assist low-paid and insecure workers.”
She added: “The government must bring forward its long-awaited employment bill as quickly as possible.
“The bill must include giving workers a right to a contract reflecting their normal hours of work, and robust rules governing notice of shifts and compensation for cancelled shifts.”
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com