Having been discussed in the news for the past couple of years, zero hour contracts are being brought back into the foreground by ministers hoping to clamp down on employers who continue to use them inappropriately.
For those working under this type of contract, exclusivity clauses forbid them from being able to take employment at another company – even if the employer whom the contract is with cannot offer any hours of work. It is estimated there are currently 17,000–125,000 UK freelancers and contractors with this element in their contracts.
Speaking in a press release on the government website, business secretary Vince Cable explains that although the majority of zero hour contracts have been used responsibly by businesses, the Government is aware that unfortunately “some abuse does take place.”
“We are tightening the screws on rogue employers who try to abuse workers on zero hour contracts. We are looking closely at any potential loopholes that could arise from a ban, to ensure that these are closed off and no one can get round the new law. We are also ensuring there is access to justice for workers treated unfairly,” he added.
Thoughts offered during the consultation period will help form the zero hour contracts section of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. Individuals are being asked to help identify loopholes in the current system, and suggest methods for preventing employers from using them.