Zero Hours Contracts

21st April 2015
Zero Hours Contracts image

Zero Hours Contracts –changes to be made

Introduction – What is a Zero Hours Contract?

A zero hours contract is a contract where the business or the employer is under no obligation to provide work to a worker or employee at anytime, and the worker or employee is equally under no obligation to accept work offered by the business/employer at anytime.

Some figures suggest as many as 1.8 million people in the UK work under such terms, and businesses such as Weatherspoons to the Royal Family itself are said to use such contracts.

Further controversy arises with such contracts if there is an “exclusivity clause”.  This is a clause which prevents the worker/employee working for somebody else, even though he or she is not guaranteed any hours of work at all.  Such clauses are not necessarily unlawful, and a recent survey suggested that around 9% of individuals on zero hours contracts are never allowed to work for another employer even though the primary employer has no work available for them.

The Government’s Position

The Conservative Party believes that zero hours contracts have been good for the economy, and the flexibility they provide has helped businesses during recent difficult times.  However the Government does accept that it is unfair to have “exclusivity clauses” in such contracts when work is not guaranteed as individuals who have not been offered any work are prevented from looking for work elsewhere in order to boost their income.

The Position of the Labour Party

After David Cameron’s recent admission that he could not live off a zero hours contract, Ed Milliband has stated that he would ban zero hours contracts.

Under Labour it is proposed that such contracts could only last up to three months, and thereafter the individual or employee shall be put on a “regular hours” contract.  Clearly the Labour party believe that working people should get greater protection in their endeavours to earn an income. However some experts suggest that employers will terminate an individual’s employment just before the three month period is reached in order to avoid the “regular hours” contract and that these plans will reduce the flexibility that has helped businesses in the recent poor economic conditions.

What do you need to do?

Quite simply if you employ any staff on zero hours contracts or are intending to do so, then you must wait until after the General Election in May in order to see who wins and which way the law will go.  Whoever wins there will be some changes to the current law which are necessary as the current zero hours contracts system is unfortunately open to much abuse.

If you need advice on zero hours contracts, either as an employer or as a worker/employee then please contract Daven Naghen head of our employment team.  Daven can be contacted no 01775 72261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or visit us or arrange an appointment at our offices at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1 DH.


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!