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Zero Hours Contracts, Right or Wrong?

You may recall that the Labour government raising concerns over zero hours contracts and employers’ use of them, and it seems that the latest regime have had anxieties of their own as the number of zero hours contracts grow.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, was tasked to review zero hours contracts in light of figures which not only indicated how zero hour contracts are being used but particularly their use within the 18-24 year old age group.

So what did the figures show?  Compared to the period between October and December 2009, there were 150,000 zero hours arrangements within the UK.  In the same period some three years later, that figure had risen to 200,000, and this is said to be an under estimation.

Some Trade unions have deemed the contracts unfair and a means of having workers on standby or on call to come into work without any guarantee of minimum hours or any work at all. 

For some people however, the zero hours contract suits their needs and lifestyle. The flexibility they offer suits ever-changing operational needs and demands that some industries find themselves faced with.

A major concern is that ‘zero hours’ equates to ‘zero rights’ in the workplace. 

What do you think about zero hours contracts?

Zero hours arrangements or contracts can vary, some can remain ‘casual’ arrangements meaning that workers get the minimum of benefits and rights.  

However,  zero hours contracts do carry many of the same benefits for those employees as compared to their colleagues who have guaranteed hours.  It is important for employers to review the nature of casual and zero hours working arrangements on a regular basis – if your workers or employees are building up a regular working pattern regardless of the nature/wording of their contract, it may be time to review their contractual arrangement and introduce minimum working hours, particularly if there are no foreseen fluctuations in the workload. 

It is important that the status of workers are accurately documented and that future problems connected with this are managed effectively at an early stage.

For more information on how Park City can help you manage the minefield that is HR in the workplace call Wendy on 01206 752100 or email us here.

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Juliet Price is the Managing Director here at Park City and has extensive, specialist knowledge in HR, Health & Safety and staff development. Enter your question below and we'll be back in touch soon with an answer!

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