The Issue With Zero-Hours Contracts

zero hours contracts

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While zero-hours contracts have been defended in the past for helping to bring the economy back on track, it is time to bring an end to them. Yes, they offer organizations more flexibility, which allows them to hire more people, even if it is just when and if necessary. However, these types of contract do not benefit the worker. Nobody wants to be trapped on benefits, which most people on a zero-hours contract are, since they do not earn enough money to get by.

What Are Zero-Hour Contracts?

While no legal definition currently exists, it tends to refer to employment contracts where no work or minimum number of hours is actually guaranteed by the employer. You don’t get a set shift pattern, but are rather call into work when and if needed. While you are offered the flexibility to say no if unable to attend, it doesn’t really offer you a great deal of security.

While one week you could be working everyday, the next you could find yourself without any work. That means, you could find yourself without any income, until the next shift comes along. The rights you receive with your contract will depend on what you’re defined as; self-employed, employee or worker.

Growing Insecurities

low wages

The world of employment now offers less and less security. With the steady increase in the number of temporary and zero-hour contract, the unemployed are forced to take on jobs that lack stability. Zero-hours contract create many problems for workers.

You never know when you will be needed, and often times you need to survive on very low wages. Don’t expect wages to be anywhere near the living wage; these types of job tend to offer the minimum wage or just above it. Here’s what some people have to say, giving you a harsh reality of the situation:

What Will The Government Do About It?

In the run-up to the general elections, many people had something to say about the zero-hours contract. Every party pretty much agreed that they were an issue for workers and something needed to be done to protect their rights. So, what’s being done about it?

Graphic Zero-hours Contracts by Guardian

Source: Guardian

With nearly 700,000 people stating that their zero-hours contract is serving as their main job, the time to act is now. A new measure has been brought in to help protect workers from the “exclusivity clause”. This provision in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 came into force in May 2015. However, it has already garnered much criticism, as employment lawyers sat in cannot be enforced.

Signs of Recovery

The good news is that there are signs of recovery and continued growth in the economy. The Recruitment and Employment Federation, or REC, recently conducted their JobOutlook survey, stating some positive figures that seem to spell good news for temporary workers everywhere. While it is not great news all round, there are a few hopeful signs of improvement.

With added security in the economy, comes added security in the markets. This is allowing employers to take on more permanent workers, without have to worry too much about how it will affect their budget in the long term. Employers are planning to take on more permanent workers, and the number of job vacancies being listed has increased by over 20% since last year. Let’s hope the government makes stronger steps towards protecting workers and the economy continues on its road to recovery.

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