Zero hours contracts have attracted significant political attention over the
last few months, following well publicised reports in the media about their
use (or alleged misuse) by some well known employers.
There certainly appears to be a degree of confusion about what exactly a
zero hours contract is and the rights that individuals do/do not have when
engaged under them. In some reports the phrase ‘zero hours’ appears to be
used to refer to anyone who works on a flexible, non-standard basis.
While there have been some calls to ban zero hours contracts, that does now
seem unlikely and impractical. The Government carried out a review over the
summer, which it referred to as a ‘fact-finding’ exercise. This was followed
by an announcement in September by Vince Cable, the Secretary of State
for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced that the
Government will be launching a consultation on zero-hours contracts.
The date for the consultation has yet to be confirmed but it has been
indicated that this will be launched in November 2013.