Government review could benefit a million workers
Business secretary Vince Cable has launched a wide ranging employment review which could potentially benefit up to a million British workers.
Many people on zero-hours contracts are on ‘worker’ employment contracts, as opposed to ‘employee’ contracts. That means they have fewer basic rights, such as maternity pay, the right to request flexible working hours or protection against unfair dismissal.
There are grey areas such as sick pay entitlement which could be taken to tribunal. However, regardless of the outcome of the hearing, the employer could then stop offering the employee more work, citing the ‘casual’ working relationship.
Many of these workers are not actually aware of their status or their rights. Their employers may also be unaware and could be at risk of a legal challenge from an employee.
Due to the lack of clarity, the government has launched the review in order to collect meaningful data.
Mr Cable said: “Now the economy is firmly on the road to recovery, it is important that the fruits of the recovery are shared by all. Some types of contracts which offer fewer employment rights, and which were never designed to be widely used, have become much more commonplace. As the economy recovers, it is right to explore giving a silent minority of workers the security and rights enjoyed by the majority of employees.
“Workers should not be finding out that they are not protected by law once they get to employment tribunal. We need a system that is fair, simple and transparent - an environment where businesses feel more confident knowing what type of contracts to hire staff on and where individuals know their rights and have the security they deserve.”
Interim findings will be presented to the government by the end of the year. Officials will then submit recommendations to ministers by March 2015.
Please contact John Carter for more information about ‘worker’ employment contracts or any aspect of employment law.