Zero Hour Contracts Add Complications To Workers Rights

The world of work is changing in ways that most would not have imagined just a few short years ago. Workers and employers in the UK can have flexible shifts and opportunities, especially if workers and employers have a zero-hour contract in place. A zero-hour contract is a type of contract between an employer and a worker, where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours, while the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered.

According to a recent article appearing on the Personnel Today website, to keep pace with these new and innovative work schedules, Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and the Government are concerned that employers to provide staff members with a reasonable amount of notice before scheduling workers for a shift. The government also wants to ensure that workers are less likely to be penalized if they choose not to accept a work shift that is given out at the last minute. 

“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly, ” Clark said.

According to a report issued by the UK Low Pay Commission, 40% of workers say that their work schedule can change from week to week NS 1.7 million workers say they are worried that their work schedule can change unexpectedly making it difficult.  One solution is to give workers who have zero-hour contracts the ability to request a contract with a work schedule that is more predictable. 

Also, being considered are proposals that would require employers to pay workers if their work shift is canceled unexpectedly.   

Some within the Government, particularly within the Labour Party, are insisting that the way to better protect worker’s rights is to ban the use of zero-hour contracts altogether. A review conducted by Matthew Taylor in 2017, however, says that this would cause even more hardship for low wage workers in the UK.