Zero Hours Contracts (“ZHCs”) – Good or Bad?
ZHCs are those employment contracts between an employer and a worker where the employer is not obliged to provide the worker with any minimum working hours, and the worker is not obliged to accept any of the hours suggested. The employer is saying, “I will take you on but with no guarantee of work”. Their use is mostly in those business sectors where there is a need for a flexible workforce; so with ever extending opening hours for shops, ZHCs might be an attractive option to jewellery retailers.
For employers this can be cheaper than paying expensive agency fees whilst providing a ready pool of staff to assist when demand arises. The workers benefit from flexible hours on the same basic terms as other employees.
Casual labour is increasingly in use and ZHCs can provide a basis for this within the modern employment protection legal framework. But it is not without criticism and the Government recently commissioned a consultation into the use of ZHCs. A particular concern was the inclusion of exclusivity clauses within ZHC’s.
Hopefully we will soon receive much needed guidance and possibly legislation from the Government on ZHC’s. If you use or are considering using casual labour and would like more advice about ZHC’s, then contact the Employment Team at Royds Solicitors.
Written by Stephen Welfare, a Partner at Royds LLP Solicitors.
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