Zero Hours Contract

Zero Hours Contract: Are you for them or Against them

This essay gives a detailed description of what a zero-hour contract is and its effects on our society. A zero-hour contract is a contract between an employer and an employee where it is not mandatory for the employees to accept the work and the employer is not obliged to provide minimum working hours. Zero-hour contract is also known as casual contracts and are usually for “piece work” or “on call” work. Zero-hour contract is not a legal term. The CIPD labor market survey (September 2017) elaborates it as,” an arrangement between two parties that one may be asked to perform work for other but is no set minimum number of hours…”
People have many different views about zero-hour contract but in reality, it has a lot of disadvantages than advantages. Rodgers, E, (2013) agrees that the demand of zero hour contracts varies according to the demand. As most of the business have the aim of profit maximization so they try keep their cost low thus increasing chances of zero-hour contract and shortage of permanent jobs thus increasing the use of zero hour contracts. As the demand changes and zero hour contracts allow the employer a totally flexible workforce; this in turn allows them to retain staff without the costs and employ more workers in the demand increases.
The results from May 2017 survey of businesses indicate that there were 1.4 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours (Office of National Statistics). Basically, employer that accept zero hour contracts hour could call their workers for whatever they need. It is beneficial for the employers but for employees it causes uncertainty in their income. This may also cause distress in employees because of the short notices of work.

Some employees such as students like the flexibility of the zero-hour contract as it suits their lifestyle and enables them to study and work as they need.
For individuals with financial and family commitments these contracts may not be so suitable due to the lack of financial stability, unstable work pattern and child care issues, as when employed on these contracts the individual is classed as being available for work the uncertainty and fluctuating hours can throw up problems with benefit entitlement and overpayments leaving the individual with debts and even more uncertainty about their income, according to Unison (2014)
The effects on the wellbeing of people on these contracts can be harmful due to the uncertainty faced whilst in this type of employment as there is no guarantee of earnings, and this can make it very difficult to manage outgoings. The on-call nature of these contracts can disrupt family life, and make it difficult to ensure child care. Many people feel obliged to take hours that are offered for fear of losing future income. The impact of zero hour contracts is not only felt by the individual employed on them, it also impacts on morale, and team bonding. These issues can in turn can affect people psychologically and lead to ill health due to stress when working flexible hours over long periods of time and can sometimes lead to long term illness.
The type of culture that surrounds people who are employed on these contracts, is that there seems to be a fear culture, due to the fact that workers on zero hour contracts can be easily replaced, so these individuals tend not to question contractual issues, or even health and safety issues, this fear can lead to poor performance at work.

Eleanor Rodgers (2013) Advice and Guides Available at: Accessed on: 25/10/2017

People in employment on a zero-hours contract: Mar 2017 Available at: Accessed on: 23/10/2017
Unison zero hour contracts (2014) Available at: 25/10/2017.