Zero hour contract consultation attracts 36,000 responses

A government consultation on zero-hours contracts has been flooded with 36,000 responses from people wanting to talk about problems and abuses.

Zero-hour contracts

A government consultation on zero-hours contracts has been flooded with 36,000 responses from people wanting to talk about problems and abuses.

The consultation on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, announced in December by secretary of state for business Vince Cable, ran for just 12 weeks and attracted an unprecedented response, with many respondents ignoring the consultation questions and wanting to tell their own personal story.

There are an estimated 582,000 people in the UK on zero hours contracts, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

During a Commons debate on zero hours contracts on Wednesday introduced by Labour MP Alison McGovern, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills Jenny Willot revealed that the government had received the large number of responses to the consultation:

“We had more than 36,000 responses to the zero-hours contracts consultation, which closed last week, so people clearly feel very strongly about the issue. We are looking at the responses to the consultation and will publish our response very shortly.”

Responding to the news, UNISON Head of Policy Sampson Low demanded government action on the issue, and said that zero hours contracts created a lack of a regular income and a power imbalance.

“The public and UNISON members recognised this and flooded the consultation with their stories and what they are really like for millions of people. We need action now,” he added.

Zero hours contracts have come in for criticism in recent years as they have become increasingly attractive to employers. One of the main objections is the exclusivity clause, which means that employees are unable to work for another employer even if their main employer is unable to give them any hours.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has argued that exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts should be banned unless there is a legitimate business reason for using them.

2 Responses to “Zero hour contract consultation attracts 36,000 responses”

  1. JC

    So far we’ve managed to make it uneconomic for employers to employ casual labour through agencies when they need an extra few hours on an irregular basis by giving them the same rights and pay as permanent staff, thus making them more expensive. Now we want to stop them using an alternative approach.

    What should companies do when they have a need for irregular extra staff?

  2. blarg1987

    It depends how it is defined as irregular extra hours.

    The best solution is what you used to have called a paid retainer whereby you inform a staff member that they may be needed the next day and pay them a small retainer to compensate that member of staff as they may have wanted to do something that is more economically productive that day (such as work on a project to generate an income etc).

    If they are called in they then get paid if they don’t get called in the said employer pays them a retainer as compensation.

    Such a system will encourage better management of staff and still allow buisnesses to work while also compensating the employee after all the employee does have a life as well it is not all about making someone else money.

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