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CIPD comments on zero-hours contract proposals

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The CIPD has recently announced its broad support for Labour party proposals to prevent the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts, but has warned that some recommendations go too far and urges policy makers to remember that, in many cases, zero-hours contracts can work well for both workers and their employers.

The CIPD backs the call for greater clarity over employment status terms and conditions, and agrees that zero-hours workers should be compensated if shifts are cancelled with little or no notice.

However, proposals to give zero-hours workers the right to request fixed hours after six months and to give some zero-hours workers an automatic right to a fixed hours contract after 12 months go too far, says the CIPD.

The CIPD believes a right to request fixed hours after six months, putting an onus on employers to demonstrate that their business needs could not be met by any other form of flexible contract, would not combat job insecurity,  because employers would seek to get around this by  providing very low minimum hours contracts or by using agency workers instead.

“It is important the debate about zero-hours contracts is based on evidence rather than anecdote,” commented Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD.” Our research finds that, overall, zero-hours workers are as satisfied with their jobs as other workers, report better work-life balance and lower levels of stress.”

“However our research did highlight areas of concern, for example almost half of zero-hours workers say they receive no notice at all (40%) or find out at the beginning of an expected shift (6%) that work has been cancelled,” he added.

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