Zero Hours Contracts

Posted on 26th June 2014

Zero Hours Contracts – Do I hear babies flying out of windows along with bath water?

Vince Cable has announced restrictions on some zero hours contracts where there are exclusivity clauses. While this has to be welcomed, we have yet to see any detail on the when and how, it has to be broadly welcomed as flexibility for employer and employee is the main premise of such contracts.

My concern is however, that with all hullabaloo around zero hours contracts we are in danger of throwing the well known baby out with the aforementioned bath water. I’ve just read (thanks Simon Robinson of Gordon’s solicitors) that only 0.004% of the working population are on contracts with exclusivity clauses and having employed people on zero hours contracts, I have experience how well these types of working arrangements can work for both parties.

A zero hours contract does provide no guaranteed hours, however there are no obligations for a worker to accept the hours that are offered, which can provide great flexibility for a significant group of people e.g. students, those wanting part-time work, people who may have retired etc. I have used them at a previous company, an employee who had retired was able to return on a zero hours contract as a trainer (FLT etc) as and when we needed him. He was happy with the arrangement and it proved a very cost effective option for us. It was a win win.

I just hope that the legislators are sensible when they approach this issue which may be a big ask. If there is evidence of abuses (there is evidence of abuses of “normal” employment contracts it’s called Unfair Dismissal!) then sure put safeguards in but please don’t ban them all together as that wouldn’t help anyone.

What does anyone else think?

Senior Consultant at Gateway HR

Gateway HR Ashley-01

Ashley Heeley Character
Written by:
Ashley Heeley
Senior HR Consultant