Zero Hours Employment Contracts! We can’t hold back any longer in giving our views!

Zero hours contracts are not an evil construct of the wicked exploitative employer! They are a useful tool that enables a flexible and affordable workforce in businesses where demand is unpredictable and margins are tight. The domiciliary care sector would not be able to function without zero hours contracts – unless social services change their payment structure to those care providers which we can’t see happening.

They are also a way to enable employees who couldn’t commit to regular working hours to work as and when they can. They particularly enable working parents and carers to earn a wage around their other commitments. They also allow people to take a second flexible job if that is needed to keep on making the mortgage payments.

What is wrong is not the zero hours contract but the way that some employers abuse the system and exploit their staff – and those employers, in our view, would find a way to do that no matter what the contract said.

The Sports Direct case is being widely held up as the reason why zero hours contracts should be banned. Firstly there appears to be huge amount of confusion about the difference between a zero hours employment contract and a casual worker agreement which have different statuses in terms of the individual’s rights. Secondly, it appears that in the case of Sports Direct the staff may have been denied holiday and sick pay.

If that is the case this would be unlawful as zero hours employees and casual workers are entitled to these rights.

Could the way that these kind of contracts are used benefit from some kind of regulation to prevent abuse – yes. Should they be banned – no.

If you have staff working on a casual or zero hours basis and want to check you are complying with the law give us a call today.

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