Zero-Hour Contracts and the Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill

Thank you for contacting me about zero-hour contracts and the Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill. 

While not suitable for everyone, I believe that zero-hour contracts do have a part to play in a modern, flexible labour market because, for a small proportion of the workforce, that may be the kind of contract that is right for them. Two-thirds of workers on these contracts do not want more hours. 

However, it is important to make sure that those benefitting from the flexibility of these contracts are not exploited by unscrupulous employers and I welcome that action has been taken.

In 2015, the Government legislated to ban exploitative zero hours arrangements meaning it is now illegal for employers to include exclusivity clauses in these contracts. This means that people have the freedom to look for and take other work opportunities and have more control over their work hours and income. Individuals on these contracts can also make a complaint to an employment tribunal if their employer mistreats them for working, or seeking to work, elsewhere.

Since 2010 employment has increased by over 3.3 million and three-quarters of this rise has been in full-time employment. In comparison, less than 2.5 per cent of the total workforce are on zero-hours contracts. However, the Government has committed to introducing a right to request a more predictable contract for all workers, including those on zero hours. I do not think it is necessary therefore to support the Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill.