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Zero-Hours Contracts: Consultations and Changes

The government is proposing to introduce measures to reduce ‘one sided flexibility’ in contracts such as zero hours contracts.

They have launched a consultation to seek views on proposals to introduce new rights for workers:

  • To be given reasonable notice of their working hours and
  • To be compensated where their shifts are cancelled or curtailed without reasonable notice.

The consultation asks for views on whether the new rights should be ‘day-one’ rights, what ‘reasonable notice’ should be in respect of both rights, and whether this should vary depending on the type of work done or the industry in which the worker is employed. We will keep you up to date regarding the outcome of the consultation.

However, it’s important to be aware that the government has confirmed that it will adopt an earlier recommendation for workers to have a right to switch to a contract that reflects their normal working hours.

When drafting this legislation, the government will give consideration to the circumstances in which the Low Pay Commission recommended an employer would be entitled to refuse to provide such a contract. Those circumstances include where:

  • There is no evidence to support a claim in relation to the hours worked.
  • It would cause significant, adverse change to the business.
  • There are exceptional, unforeseen or emergency circumstances.
  • Average hours worked were affected by a temporary situation that no longer exists.

No timescale has yet been given for when this new legislation will be introduced. We will keep you updated with any developments.

If you have any questions regarding zero-hours contracts, or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.