Zero Hours Contract
In October 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Mathew Taylor, former advisor to Tony Blair, to head a review of workers’ rights and practices. As part of this review, Mr Taylor has now proposed that businesses who employ individuals on zero-hour contracts could be forced to pay a premium rate for short notice in an effort to stop employers from exploiting staff.
The aim of the proposal is to address job security in the UK, and help implement a plan on how to put a stop to the high number of low-paid workers anxious about their jobs. It is reported around 5 million people wonder if they will able to pay the bills each month, or what will happen to the mortgage if they are suddenly out of work, according to Taylor’s research.
The proposal would force employers to pay an increased rate above the National Minimum Wage if they call upon workers whose contracts require them to be on standby for work. This would incentivise employers to guarantee more hours in advance because it would cost more to pay individuals for work that had not already been agreed.
Mr Taylor said, “We can encourage employers to be a bit less lazy about transferring risk…” and guaranteeing workers, for example, 15 hours of work a week rather than one hour of work, would give workers the ability to secure a livelihood.
While the aim of the proposed measure – namely to deter employers from using zero hour contracts to exploit workers is laudable – it remains to be seen whether this measure will be introduced.