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Well-Managed Zero-Hours Contracts – Tips for Employers

It has been widely reported that more employers are coming to rely on zero-hours contracts. Despite concerns that they pose problems (such as economic insecurity and unfair working terms and conditions) for those who work under them, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that zero hour contract workers have similar levels of job satisfaction and personal well-being as full-time contract employees.

We’ve been closely following the issue of zero-hour contracts throughout the year (here and here). In this post, we briefly look at the key findings of the CIPD’s recent research on worker perspectives and offer employers some tips to ensure best practice when using these types of employment contract.

Positives & Negatives of Zero-Hours Contracts for Workers

Using data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey and its own Employee Outlook and Labour Market Outlook surveys, the CIPD policy report broadly found, amongst other things, that job satisfaction and personal well-being were similar for both zero-hours contract workers and full-time contract employees. Further, zero-hours contract workers were more likely to be satisfied with their work-life balance and feel less pressure.

However, the research also found that zero-contract workers, on average, tended to want to work more hours, saw fewer opportunities to develop and improve their skills and were likely to feel less integrated at work.

The CIPD concludes that the best way to regulate and improve the use of zero-hours contracts isn’t further legislation, but for employers to gain a better understanding of fair and flexible working practices.

Zero-Hours Contracts Best Practice for Employers

To get the most out of workers who aren’t guaranteed a minimum number of hours, employers must make sure that zero-hours contracts are appropriate for the business, used effectively and well-managed. It’s also important to make sure your workers’ employment status actually reflects the reality of the employment relationship.

If you use or are thinking about using zero-hours contracts, you might want to consider the following to ensure best practice:

  • Be transparent about employment status and manage zero-hours workers in line with their status
  • Draft and implement procedures for short notice cancellation of work and termination of zero-hours contracts
  • Offer workers a copy of their terms and conditions
  • Ensure zero-hours workers are on a comparable rate of pay to those of a different employment status doing the same work

If you are looking for tailored advice on taking on staff on a casual or zero-hours basis, or would like to ensure the employment contracts you currently have in place are suitable and truly reflect the reality of your employment relationships, our expert team of employment law and HR Specialists are ready to help. We offer employers practical and effective solutions for any HR or employment law matter, aimed at giving you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

EmployEasily – Zero-Hours Contracts Experts

Find out more about our fixed fee HR packages here and fixed fee employment law packages here, or get in touch.

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