Zero-hours contracts — what’s the controversy?

By Alison Downie

The current controversy over the issue of zero-hours contracts is focused on the fact that they leave workers with little stability or security, uncertain about earnings and vulnerable to exploitation by their employers.

While a generous interpretation of zero-hours contracts may describe the arrangement as one in which the worker is placed on an equal footing with their employer, and so is free to accept or refuse work when offered, in most zero-hours contracts the worker is in fact required to be available when or if called upon and to accept work when offered.

In practice, a significant percentage of workers engaged under zero-hours contracts work regular hours, for the same employer, but with limited access to employment rights, lower wages and no job security…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Goodman Derrick briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

News from The Lawyer

Briefings from Goodman Derrick

View more briefings from Goodman Derrick

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


10 St Bride Street

Turnover (£m): 12.80
No. of lawyers: 46