Zero hours in the news again

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The topic of zero hours has been in the news again with three developments. Firstly, consultation on the topic is currently underway and is due to close on the 13th March 2014. The points for discussion are situations where workers on zero-hours contracts are subject to a clause preventing them from working elsewhere and secondly issues over the lack of transparency over the terms of the contracts, access to employment rights and the uncertainty of income. Employers who want to have their say have a little longer to do so.

Secondly, ACAS’s Chief Executive Anne Sharp has identified zero-hours as one of the three key areas for 2014. Finally, a Private Members Bill was published on 23 January 2014. The Bill aims to prohibit the use of zero-hours contracts and is due to have its second reading debate at the end of February 2014. The Bill has a rather narrow definition of the type of zero-hours contracts it is seeking to prohibit. It defines them as contracts where the contract fails to specify guaranteed working hours, but requires the worker to work (or be available for work) exclusively for one employer.

Historically, Private Members Bills do not have a good track record of ever becoming law so watch this space.

Written by
Edward Aston
20th February 2014