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Zero Hours Contract to Remain
After a flurry of media attention surrounding the potential outlawing of zero hours contracts, Business Secretary, Vince Cable has ruled out a complete ban on zero hours contracts.
Zero hours contracts allow employers to hire staff without any guarantee of work. They are intended for use where an employer wants to be able to engage the worker on a genuinely casual, as required, basis and the zero hours worker is only paid for the hours worked.
Depending on the terms of their contracts, some zero hours workers are entitled to decline shifts offered by the employer but many are expected to be available for work when it is offered.
Zero hours contracts can provide employers with a great deal of flexibility while incurring as few obligations to the worker as possible.
Mr Cable has announced that a 12 week consultation will be launched on the use of zero hours contracts to consider fairness and transparency. We wait to see the result of the consultation, but the outcome may be that there is a tightening up of the contents of and obligations under zero hours contracts.
In the meantime employers should ensure they keep any existing zero hours arrangements under review, bearing in mind the issues that can arise if a casual worker is, in practice, an employee, as this affects their rights and protections.