The Inevitable End of Zero Hour Contracts?

Zero Hour Contract Controversy

Zero hour contracts have often been a topic of controversy, especially within the HR sector. But with an overwhelming 1.7 million employed on zero hour contracts in 2017, they are still a force to be reckoned with in the UK and will continue to have a significant impact on the labour market.

On one hand they can be seen as advantageous for companies that require a high level of flexibility. This is due to the frequent changes in demand, for example within the hospitality sector. As well as appealing to employees who appreciate the flexibility of working whenever they can, such as students. Who according to the CIPD make up one-quarter of zero-hour contract employees.

In Contrast, we are often reminded by the critics of the zero-hour contract that the system itself is flawed. With companies being given the opportunity to exploit workers and provide an unstable working environment that can lead to potential problems such as a lack of ability for the employees to support themselves financially.

Anticipated End of Zero Hour Contracts Looming

However things surrounding the debated topic of zero hour contracts may soon be resolved. As a recent pursuit by Scottish MP Chris Stephens has introduced a Workers Rights Bill that would ban zero hours contracts. Except for circumstances in which the contract was agreed with the individuals trade union and the definition of the employee’s status as a worker is more clear, which may enable the use of zero hour contracts to be more effective and minimise the risk of exploitation.

Unfortunately for the supporters of the new Workers Rights Bill, in order for the Private Members Bills to become law support of the government is usually required. This could suggest that it’s still a long way till we see the end of the controversial zero-hours contracts, but may not be as long for the appropriate adaptations to be made to make sure the system is fair and effective.