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Eversheds comment: Labour’s zero hour contract announcement takes UK employers by surprise

  • United Kingdom


    Responding to Labour’s new zero hours contracts (ZHC) policy announcement today, which promises a change in the law to entitle ZHC employees to a fixed hours contract where they have, in practice, been working regular hours on a ZHC for 12 weeks, Simon Rice-Birchall, partner at law firm Eversheds, comments:

    “If enacted, Labour’s new policy would limit flexibility, for example, where ZHC employees are used to cover seasonal peaks which may last beyond 12 weeks. It is also not clear how this proposed new right would apply, for example, the announcement refers to granting the new right to ‘employees’, not ‘workers’. Many staff on ZHCs are workers and do not have full employment status. In addition, depending how the change in the law is drafted, there is a risk that some employers may simply offer contracts with minimal fixed hours to limit its impact.

    “Whatever the outcome of the election, the contentious nature of zero hours contracts seems set to continue. Employers using ZHCs need to prepare for further change.”

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