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Zero hours contracts under consultation

8 January 2014

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Government proposals to tackle the lack of transparency in zero hours contracts are now under consultation. 

Questions have been raised over “exclusivity clauses”, which prevent an individual from working for another employer, even if the current employer is offering no work. 

Through research the government also found that individuals are not always clear on the terms, conditions and consequences of a zero hours contract and employers do not always fulfil or understand their responsibilities. 

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Zero hours contracts have been used responsibly in some sectors for many years. They can support business flexibility, making it easier to hire new staff and providing new pathways to employment for young people. These contracts and other flexible arrangements give individuals more choice and the ability to combine their work with other commitments. 

“But this government has always been clear that we will address and crack down on any abuse or exploitation of individuals in the workplace.” 

Office of National Statistics data shows that the use of zero hours contracts has increased in the past five years, and that there are around 250,000 such contracts in use in the UK today.