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Zero-hour Contracts On The Rise In UK

07 Aug 2013


Immigration News

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) conducted a survey of 1,000 employers which indicated that 3-4% of the workforce in UK, which comes to around a million people were on Zero-hour Contracts. Despite union calls to ban the Zero-hour Contracts, only 14% of these affected say that their employers often fail to provide them with sufficient working hours each week, and a review of these contracts is under way by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Employees in UK under Zero-hour contracts basically agree to be available for work as and when it is required. According to last week’s figures from the Office for National Statistics, 250,000 workers in UK were on zero-hours contracts. CPID’s research states that firms in the voluntary and public sectors are expected to use zero-hours contracts than those in the private sector, and hotels, leisure and catering healthcare and education are the industries where employers are expected to report having at least one person on zero-hours contracts. CPID also said that one in five employers in the UK had at least one employee on a zero-hours contract. Though critics point that the system may lead to fluctuating wages and a risk where managers may use their contract as both punishment and reward, zero-hours contracts are suitable to some due to the flexibility they provide.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of CPID said that there is a need to take a closer look at the meaning of a zero-hours contract, the different forms of it, and clearer guidance on what right and wrong practice in their use look like. Used appropriately, Zero-hours contracts can provide flexibility for employees and employers, playing a positive role in creating more flexible working opportunities. However, Zero-hours contracts cannot be used to avoid an employer's responsibilities towards their employees. Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said that for some people this can be the right sort of employment contract, giving workers a choice of working patterns. He added that while it's important that the workforce remains flexible, it is equally essential that it is treated fairly, and that is why they have asked their officials to undertake some work over the summer to better understand how this type of contract is working in practice today. People interested in working in the UK can apply for a UK Work Visa, and those who like the challenge of flexible working hours may enjoy opting for the Zero-hour Contracts in UK.

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