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CMA reminds employers to avoid anti-competitive practices

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published new easy-to-read materials, which seek to boost business compliance and remind employers of their legal obligations to avoid collusion when it comes to employee pay, working conditions and the hiring of staff.

Employers across the UK are required to comply with competition law when setting wages and working conditions for new and existing employees, as well as policies on staff recruitment and retention. This helps ensure successful candidates and existing staff are paid fairly for their work and can opt to move to another employer where pay and conditions are better.

The new materials cover no-poaching agreements, where businesses agree not to hire each other’s employees; wage-fixing agreements, where businesses who compete for the same types of employees fix salaries; and information sharing about the terms and conditions of employees’ contracts.

It includes practical pointers for businesses to comply with the law, such as:

  • understanding how competition law applies to no-poaching and wage-fixing agreements
  • training HR staff on competition law and how it applies to agreements within recruitment
  • ensuring internal reporting processes are in place so staff can report no-poaching agreements or wage-fixing

Juliette Enser, CMA Senior Director of Cartels, said: “When it comes to labour markets, breaking competition law won’t just negatively impact staff and potential recruits – who rightly expect their employers to play by the rules, as they cope with the rising cost of living – but could result in large fines or the disqualification of directors if you are caught.

“Businesses have no excuse for not following the law and ignorance is no defence when it comes to colluding with competitors to rig the labour market in their favour.

“The materials we published today will help ensure all employers understand their responsibilities under competition law and sets out how the CMA will take action against those who engage in anti-competitive behaviours.”

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