Inquiry launched into zero-hours contracts

12 September 2013 An inquiry has been launched into the use and abuse of zero-hours contracts.

12 Sep 2013| News

12 September 2013

An inquiry has been launched into the use and abuse of zero-hours contracts.

Unfortunately, this action was not made by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (who instead conducted a weak and tokenistic review over the summer), but by the Scottish Affairs Committee – the same panel who have been performing stellar work in their inquiry into blacklisting.

The Institute of Employment Rights is pleased to see the Committee look into this critical issue, particularly following the important work they have done on blacklisting, and look forward to seeing the evidence to be revealed by the inquiry.

Yesterday (11 September 2013), the Committee announced the launch of the inquiry, which followed an evidence session on zero-hours with Unite the Union.

Currently, the Committee is looking for written evidence on the following questions by 14 October 2013:

  • How widespread are zero hours contracts in Scotland?
  • In which sectors or areas are zero hours contracts especially common?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of these contracts for (a) employers and (b) workers?
  • What is the practical effect of zero hours contracts on the workers who are contracted, and on other employees?
  • Are zero hours contracts affecting workers in Scotland disproportionately, for instance because of distances travelled or patterns of employment?
  • Are zero hours contracts replacing agency work? What is the difference between them for the worker?
  • Are people who are on zero hours contracts, and employers who use them, aware of their obligations and their rights?
  • What support is available to people negatively affected by zero hours contracts?
  • Under a zero hours contract, a worker should be able to turn down work; is this possible for workers to do in practice?
  • Are benefit claimants obliged to accept zero hours contracts?
  • Are there any other types of contracts or employment arrangements that are a cause for concern?

Those wishing to give evidence should click here for further information.