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Government to examine non-compete clauses

Non-compete clauses, the bane of anyone leaving their old job and starting out on their own, are to be taken a closer look at by the Government.

Individuals that decide to leave permanent employment in order to strike out on their own as a sole trader, freelancer, or contractor often run into some sticky wickets. One of the worst is when you end up boxed in by a non-compete clause, which are written into more than one permanent work contract. They certainly have a chilling effect on those looking to go into self-employment, as they bar individuals from competing with their previous employer. However, it looks like the Government is going to take a look at how non-compete clauses are enforced in the UK – at least according to a statement given by business secretary Sajid Javid.

In many cases, non-compete clauses aren’t enforced, and it’s usually when an employee with a specific career focus leaves a larger company that handles large-scale clients. Unfortunately a lot of the time such cases need to be proven in a court of law – and a brand-new contractor with little to no capital to prove that the non-compete clause doesn’t apply to them can find themselves stymied.

This is why the business secretary has called for evidence. Mr Javid wants opinions on non-compete clauses before he can take any action, but odds are there will be some action taken if enough evidence is presented that these clauses are causing barriers to Brits looking to become entrepreneurs. With the UK aspiring to be as innovative as possible, there’s a big push to continue that by encouraging start-ups and break down any barriers that are preventing this innovation from happening. Well, that’s what Mr Javid has to say about it, anyway.

Honestly I don’t know which way this is going to go. Non-compete clauses are certainly a thorn in the side of anyone bound by one if they plan to go their own way, or at least I think so. On the other hand, the big business lobby in the UK might not be so amenable to these regulatory changes any time soon, especially if they feel it will cut into their profit margins. Then again what else is new?

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