Zero-Hours contracts up for review

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that over 200,000 workers in the UK are working under zero-hours contracts, up from 150,000 in 2009.  So what are these contracts and why are they proving so popular?

Under a zero-hours contract the employer does not guarantee to provide the worker with any work and pays the worker only for work actually carried out. Generally, the worker is expected to be available for work if required, often at short notice.  However, under some contracts the worker is free to accept or refuse work offered.  Staff employed under such contracts are usually ‘workers’ rather than employees and so have fewer employment rights.  They do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal or a statutory redundancy payment.
There is no immediate plan to ban the use of zero-hours contracts, but their increased use has brought them under the spot light and there is political pressure from both the government and the Labour Party to remove or at least limit their use.

Petra Venton