Ban zero-hour contracts

August 12, 2013, 3:06 PM GMT+0

The majority of the public support a ban on zero-hour contracts, and voters from all parties say the contracts allow employers to exploit workers

Following a series of allegations that companies such as McDonalds and Sports Direct have been using zero-hour contracts - jobs where people do not have any guaranteed hours each week, and only go into work or get paid when there is work available - a national debate has emerged. Some argue they let employers adapt to difficult economic conditions and allow employees to balance work with care and study. Others say they leave employees uncertain of wages, holidays and sick pay, letting employers withhold hours as a form of punishment.

New YouGov research for the Sunday Times reveals that the majority would support a ban on zero-hour contracts, and voters of all political leaning say they are normally a bad thing.

56% of British adults ‘support a ban on zero-hour contracts,’ while less than half as many (25%) oppose and 19% don’t know. Voters of every party tend more to support than oppose a ban, though while Labour voters are in support by 71%-18%, Conservatives favour a ban by 46%-35%.

67% say ‘zero-hour contracts are normally a bad thing - they don't provide any security and allow employers to exploit their workers,’ including majorities from every party. Only 20% say ‘zero-hour contracts can be a good thing - they allow flexible working arrangements for people in jobs where the amount of work could vary from week to week and there may be periods with no work to do.’

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has said the government could legislate on zero-hour contracts, but ruled out a complete ban. The legislation could end exclusive relationships between employers and employees on the contracts, whereby employees are not allowed to work for another company.

Image from Getty.

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