Speaking at the Resolution Foundation, Vince Cable said that while Labour’s call to give workers the automatic right to a fixed contract after a year was not “wise”, the government would seek to “move forward” on allowing employees to ask for fixed contracts. "I think that is an area in which we need to move forward and we are looking at how we can best do it," he said. The business secretary said there was evidence of abuse by employers, in particular over exclusive contracts. He also said Labour's idea of giving workers the automatic right to a fixed contract after a year was not "wise". Zero-hours contracts, which allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work, are popular with many companies because they offer flexibility. But critics say they can leave workers with little financial stability or security, few employment rights and not enough work. 'Balance' The government says such contracts offer an average 25 hours of work a week and can be a good means of gaining experience. However, Mr Cable said he believed employees could be given the right to request fixed contracts in the way they can currently request flexible working. CIPP comment At the end of 2013 the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) published a consultation to seek further evidence on the problems identified around the use of zero hours contracts. The government has not yet published a formal response to this consultation. The CIPP surveyed members and submitted its response to BIS back in March. There was unanimous agreement that the current guidance does not help individuals challenge exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, and that more generally, the government should provide clear and straight forward support and guidance to help both businesses and individuals understand their rights and obligations.
Government crackdown on zero hours abuse
26 June 2014
The government has announced plans to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.
An announcement from Vince Cable the Business Secretary heralds legislation introduced to Parliament on 25 June 2014.
CIPP comment The CIPP welcomes this announcement from the Business Secretary. Responding to the government’s consultation on this subject earlier this year, payroll professionals represented by the CIPP acknowledged the benefits that zero hours contracts can bring to a business, but called for a ban on exclusivity clauses where there is no guaranteed offer of work. It is heartening to see that this has now been implemented.
Consultation on zero hours contracts
27 August 2014
Having decided in June to ban the use of exclusivity clauses on zero hours contracts (ZHCs), the government is now asking for views on how to stop employers potentially sidestepping such a ban.
CIPP Policy News Journal
08/04/2015, Page 99 of 521
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