Clear guidelines will make zero hour contracts more effective, says Collas Crill employment specialist
Channel Island employers should consider introducing clearer guidelines on zero hours contracts to ensure they work effectively for both employers and employees says a Guernsey employment law specialist.
A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel Development survey suggested that almost one in five UK employers retained staff on zero-hour contracts.
Collas Crill’s Emma Parr said: “Zero-hour contracts are typically drafted to maximise flexibility for the employee and the employer. Used appropriately, zero-hour contracts are an efficient way for employers to manage their staff and time respectively.”
But they are also open to exploitation, she says.
“Worryingly, an increasing number of employers have jumped onto the zero hours bandwagon. Some critics feel that the use of zero-hour contracts is simply just another way of re-classifying the unemployed and adjusting the unemployment statistics. The insecurity and lack of stability is just too much worry for some and prevents ordinary people from being able to plan for the future and there has also been recent debate surrounding the rates of pay.
“But the are disadvantages in zero hours contracts for employers, too – they must consider at what point a zero-hour contract begins to entitle the employee to more than just the option to work. For example, when does an employer become legally or contractually responsible for the employee in terms of health care, maternity, sick leave and holiday entitlement; all of the usual entitlements that most employees take for granted?”
In response to calls across the Channel Islands for an abolition of zero hours contracts entirely, to remove the potential for their abuse, Emma said: “I believe the trade unions and politicians in 1527628.1
Guernsey and Jersey should concentrate on making the present situation clearer rather than un-do it altogether.”