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Zero hour contracts – additional flexibility or hindrance to family life?

Posted on Friday, 23rd August 2013 by

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An investigation by the Guardian found that 90% of Sports Direct staff and employees of Buckingham Palace, Cineworld and the Tate Galleries are being employed on zero hour contracts. A zero hour contract gives employees no guarantee of work, no holiday pay or sick pay and therefore can potentially make it very difficult to get a tenancy agreement, credit card or loan due to the lack of regular and consistent income.


These zero hour contracts also seem to be affecting people’s private life with unpredictable shift patterns and times, last minute shift cancellations and changes and many reporting that if they do not make themselves available for a shift they will not receive any more for the following weeks.


It can become very difficult to organise such mundane tasks like food shopping when you do not know until the day before when you are free for the rest of the week and can lead to insecurity when families to try to plan for paying bills. For those with children this lack of consistency could mean missing a school play or even a parent’s evening, which could be a terrible disruption to family life.


There are some groups of people which include students, for whom this additional flexibility and lack of rigidity is a blessing. By not being fixed into working specific dates, times and hours people can commit to other things including university and keep additional money coming in when it suits.


So are zero hour contracts necessary or just a way to avoid the usual rights and privileges which an employment contract holds? From business terms it makes sense to employ individuals on a casual basis where they are called in to meet demand but with Sports Direct employing 90% of their employees on zero hour contracts it has sparked shock and outrage at the potential for abuse of such contracts. The idea of zero hour contracts was to assist the workforce by adding flexibility but the widespread use of the contracts has prompted Nick Clegg to confirm a review is to be held into the breadth and impact of zero hour contracts.

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Andrew is a Commercial & Employment Law solicitor in Leicester. Our Solicitors in Leicester are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Leicester please contact us.

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Andrew Robinson - Employment Law
Andrew Robinson - Employment Law
andrew.robinson@ehlsolicitors.co.uk 01509 212 108
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