Thousands respond to ‘zero hours’ consultation

More than 30,000 responses have flooded in to a government consultation on zero hours contracts.

The 12-week consultation, launched last December, focused on the two key issues of exclusivity in employment contracts and lack of transparency for employees.

The government said that some businesses employing people on a zero hours contract bar them from working for anyone else and that some employers did not make it clear to people, either when advertising vacancies or interviewing candidates or in contracts, that they might be offered no work.

Latest Office for National Statistics estimates suggest that 580,000 people work under zero hours contracts.

Following the closure of the consultation, Business Secretary Vince Cable said on 15 March: “It is clear that a growing number of people are using zero hours contracts.

“While for some they offer welcome flexibility to accommodate childcare or top up monthly earnings, for others it is clear that there has also been abuse around this type of employment, which can offer more limited employment rights and job security.

“We believe they can have a place in today’s labour market and are not proposing to ban them outright, but we also want to make sure that people are getting a fair deal.

“We don’t think that people should be tied exclusively to one employer if it unfairly stops them from boosting their income when they are not getting enough work to earn a living. We also want to give employees and employers more guidance and advice on their rights and responsibilities around these types of employment contracts.”

The government said its response to the consultation would be announced “in due course”.

Link: Guidance on zero hours contracts 

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