Zero Hours Contracts – a need for Legislation


Even as the UK economy recovers, many people are being pushed into self-employment because of lack of suitable work opportunities, agency work and the Zero Hour contracts,  which have become a permanent feature of the jobs market. Nearly half of the 1.2 million jobs created since the coalition came to power are self employment jobs with half of those being people over 50.  The TUC General Secretary says that that this increase was not a rise in entrepreneurs but was shift towards insecure work like freelancing, no sick pay, no maternity or holiday pay etc.
There was last year a “media furore” over the use of Zero Hours Contracts and very recently recruitment industry thinkers and policy makers, after a roundtable event involving representatives from APSCo, CIPD, TUC,  Law experts and Private Sector firms, etc, concluded that regulating them with a Code of Good Practice was preferable to their abolishment.
Because of this “media furore” many people (employers and employees) were suspicious of Zero Hours Contracts but the truth is, is that this working practice was integral to flexibility of the UK’s labour market and indeed it wasn’t the domain of just the low paid but also many UK professional contracting staff including Umbrella Company employees use this scheme to demonstrate flexibility to their clients.
The discussions outcomes included a Code for Good Practice, exclusivity clause abolition and a full written explanation of how this scheme works being made available to all involved workers.
In a very recent development, following a review by the Business Secretary  Vince Cable, the Government is planning an outright ban on Zero Hours exclusivity clauses. He also agrees that the scheme should not be outlawed altogether because many people enjoy the freedom they get from such contracts but that the exclusivity contacts prevent the low paid the chance to top up their wages.







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