Non-Compete Clauses Call for Evidence

Closed 19 Jul 2016

Opened 24 May 2016


This government wants to make Britain the best place in Europe to innovate and start up a new business. As part of this, we want to look at our employment rules and whether they could be stifling British entrepreneurship by preventing workers from starting up their own business after leaving a job.

We want to explore whether non-compete clauses can unfairly hinder workers from moving freely between employers, and from developing innovative ideas, translating those ideas into a start-up, and growing their business.

We are mindful of the fact that there are situations in which non-compete clauses are valid and serve a useful purpose, perhaps by restricting workers from immediately working for a direct competitor.

There are clearly arguments for and against the use of non-compete clauses.  The focus of this call for evidence is to identify whether there are reasons for believing that non-compete clauses written into employment contracts are stifling innovation, particularly for start-up businesses.

It is important that we start by understanding how these clauses are used and the effect they are having on start-ups, employers, and workers. So we want you to let us have your views, experience, and evidence of such clauses.


  • SMEs (small and medium businesses)
  • Large businesses (over 250 staff)
  • Multinational businesses
  • Trade bodies
  • Legal representative
  • Medium business (50 to 250 staff)
  • Micro business (up to 9 staff)
  • Small business (10 to 49 staff)
  • Trade union or staff association
  • Employment lawyers
  • Employment advisers
  • Businesses
  • Individual employees
  • HR professionals
  • HR organisations


  • Starting a business
  • Workplace rights
  • Innovation
  • Regulation and red tape