Penningtons Manches

UK 200 2014 position: 60

Social Housing Update — March 2014: what’s next for zero-hour contracts?

By Charlotte Logan

Following widespread public and parliamentary concern over the use of zero-hour contracts, the government has published a consultation to consider whether these contracts are being abused and what action can be taken to tighten up their use.

Zero-hour contracts, it seems, are far more widely used than most realised, with some surveys suggesting that around a million people are employed under them. They are a type of contract whereby the worker has no guaranteed hours and agrees to be potentially available for work, although not obliged to accept it. The individual is only paid for work actually carried out. As a result, they are useful for creating a flexible workforce. However, they are also ripe for abuse.

Many workers providing their services to the care and support sectors of affordable housing associations do so under zero-hours contracts. These organisations often have banks of zero-hour contract workers on standby who can be called upon when necessary. The ability to be flexible about when to work does suit some people, especially those who want occasional earnings, but its unpredictable nature means it does not suit everyone…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Penningtons Manches briefing.

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