Zero Hours Contracts - good or bad?
24th April 2016
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Zero Hours Contracts. Love them or loathe them they are here to stay and, despite the largely justified bad press for some companies, used responsibly Zero Hours Contracts can be good for both employers and employees.

Rise in Zero Hours

In March 2016, figures released by the Office for National Statistics indicated that 801,000 workers were on Zero Hours Contracts in Q4 to December 2015 – that's roughly 2.5% of the employed UK workforce – so it's incredibly important that employers use Zero Hours Contracts responsibly.

In essence, Zero Hours Contracts enable employers to take on staff without offering them a guaranteed number of hours. Such agreements mean employees could be asked to work virtually full time hours, or nothing at all, which does seem to favour the employer as it gives no income security for employees.

However, many students, home carers and retirees find the flexibility of Zero Hours Contracts works for them. And employees are under no legal obligation to accept hours offered – although many do feel obliged for fear of losing out on future hours and worries about a shortfall in their income.

Alternative Contracts

If as an employer you're looking for a flexible approach to employment – perhaps as a start up business, to cover unexpected staff sickness or as part of coping with seasonal demand – there are still alternatives available. You could offer overtime to current permanent staff, recruit part time employees or use a fixed term contract to cover regular hours, offer annualised hours to cover seasonal demand or bring in agency staff to cover holidays and sickness.

Employment Rights

Zero Hours Contracts will allow you to manage demand flexibly and could be the answer for your business, but staff are still entitled to the National Minimum Wage and all other statutory employment rights. Employees are entitled to refuse hours being offered under a Zero Hours Contract and can accept work from other employers as in Zero Hours Contracts cannot include ‘exclusivity’ clauses.

To discuss which flexible employment contracts are right for your business, or how you could make better use of Zero Hours Contracts, contact Karen Saunders and the team at the HR Dept for further advice and support.

To contact The HR Dept call 0845 863 0650 - don't forget to mention thebestof when you call.

About the Author

Tracey S

Member since: 27th June 2014

I have over 20 year’s marketing experience working for companies including Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail, Hitachi and AQA. I live in Fleet and am the owner of thebestof Fleet helping small and medium companies...

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