Zero hours firms may be forced to pay premium for short notice

News Article

Companies that use zero hours contracts may be forced to pay an additional rate for calling in employees at short notice.

Matthew Taylor, the Government’s employment tsar, has called for premium rates for short notice to be introduced in an attempt to stop “lazy” employers from exploiting staff.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Taylor revealed that he was considering ways to stop workers from bearing the burden of the risk that they may not be needed.

If the proposals are adopted, companies that use zero hours contracts may need to pay a mandatory increased rate above the minimum wage if they call upon workers whose contract requires them to be on standby for work.

Commenting on the proposals, Matthew Taylor said: “I think we can encourage employers to be a bit less lazy about transferring risk, even if it means [an employer] offers 15 hours a week rather than one hour, at least that’s 15 hours that I can know I’m going to be able to pay my mortgage.”

He also stated that the plans could address the problem faced by more than 900,000 workers on zero-hours contracts, who end up waiting for work that never comes.

“We’ve been hearing … about people in the social care sector who are told, ‘Be ready to leave the house at seven in the morning’, then a phone call [comes to say] ‘No we haven’t any work for you today’,” he said.

Taylor said improving the quality of jobs in the UK should be a national goal so that people “feel like citizens at work and not servants or slaves”.

Lara Murray an Associate Solicitor an employment law specialist said: “Despite the recent negative publicity regarding zero hours contracts, for many employers, such agreements can provide ultimate labour flexibility whilst allowing them to keep labour costs down by matching staffing levels to demand as closely as possible.

“At Palmers, our employment law team can provide expert guidance on flexible working contracts and how they could affect your business. Our HR package also offers regularly updated sample policies for matters such as zero hours’ contracts.”

For more information and advice on zero hour contracts, please contact us.