To have or not to have zero hours contracts?

The majority of zero-hours workers see more benefits than flaws in this type of contract, analysis has found.

In a recent CIPD report it was found that zero-hours contract (ZHC) workers reported better work-life balance and wellbeing than other workers.  However, the professional body has appealed for improved enforcement of employment rights to protect workers who are treated unfairly.


For instance, the findings indicated that three in five (57 per cent) ZHC employees were given the right to turn down work in practice, meaning that the rest were under pressure to work all the hours allocated to them.

In addition, the report found that many employers did not compensate zero-hours workers if the employer cancelled shifts with little or no notice.

Acknowledging that people’s experience of zero-hours work varied widely, many people benefited from this very flexible way of working, and, in return, are prepared to make some trade-offs in other areas of job quality.  However, can employees be put under some pressure to accept hours or have shifts cancelled with little or no notice, and without compensation, need to be tackled.

While ruling out simply banning zero hour contracts, which would disadvantage the majority of those workers for whom they provide genuine two-way flexibility, the report suggested it was “time for a more balanced debate about their place in the labour market”.

There is also a need to ensure insecure and low-paid workers more broadly benefit from additional financial support by government over the coming months to help them deal with the cost of living crisis.

It is being recommended that the government look at introducing a right for variable hours, so workers can request a more stable contract or working arrangement after they have been employed for six months, as well as creating a statutory code of practice on the responsible management of zero-hours workers that would include the requirement for organisations to compensate workers if their shifts are cancelled with little or no notice.

There should be on a focus on the real benefits available – creating a more inclusive workforce and enabling the employer to access and get the most out of talent that may find traditional (and especially full-time) contracts inhibitive to engaging in paid work.


Looking to consider the type of contract best suited to your business, contact 121 HR Solutions to discuss further on 0800 9995 121.


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