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Zero Hour Contracts give welcome flexibility, but companies should listen to workforce concerns

11 May 2017

black haired man arms crossed in officeResponding to new zero hour contract statistics, with businesses reporting 1.7 million contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Today’s official figures indicate that the number of zero hour contracts (ZHCs) is unchanged compared with the same time last year. While the overall trend shows the number of businesses making use of these contracts falling, the picture is mixed, as some firms are moving away from using them, while others are becoming increasingly reliant on them. This is likely, in part, to do with the contrasting impacts of recent fluctuations in trade and the value of the pound, which have affected exporters and domestically focused businesses in divergent ways.

“There has been a slight uptick in the number of people on ZHCs reporting that they would like to work more hours, perhaps a sign that falling real wages are beginning to bite. Some employers, including charities and healthcare providers, will continue to need the flexibility that ZHCs enable. However, the recent move away from these contracts at firms including McDonald’s, Curzon and Everyman cinemas, JD Wetherspoon’s, Greene King and others, is to be welcomed as a sign that employers are listening to employee concerns and adapting to meet the needs of their workforce.”

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