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.


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Dementia Friends

Maples Solicitors are proud to announce that they have now joined to become Dementia Friends which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

The private client department of Maples Solicitors prepare Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney on a regular basis and this often involves dealing with clients who are suffering from dementia. The private client team pride themselves on spending as much time as is necessary to assist all of their clients, but those suffering from dementia often require additional assistance and time to ensure that they have fully understood the legal documentation that they are creating. The private client department are regularly complimented on the way they deal with such clients, whether this be explaining things to them in a clear and uncomplicated manner, spending time with them or putting them at ease.

It is a misconception that anyone suffering from dementia cannot make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney. Only if someone lacks sufficient mental capacity are they unable to make such a document. It is therefore vitally important upon any diagnosis of dementia that legal advice is taken as soon as possible to make sure that your affairs are in order so that it is easier for your family to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.

To become Dementia Friends, Maples Solicitors have pledged to develop their understanding of dementia and continue assisting clients suffering from dementia with their legal affairs in a respectful, friendly and efficient way that is not daunting making the process as easy as possible.

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