Written statement to Parliament

Zero hours employment contracts

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government is consulting on the problems identified around the use of zero hours contracts.

The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable

Today I am publishing a government consultation on zero hours contracts.

The government is part-way through an ambitious programme of employment law reform designed to make the UK labour market flexible and fair. As a part of this work, the government is seeking views on a range of options for ensuring zero hours contracts are both flexible and fair.

Zero hours contracts have a role in a flexible labour market. They can help businesses respond to changes in demand, and support individuals who want the freedom and flexibility to fit their work around their other commitments. They can also offer a pathway to further employment for young people. The government wishes to maximise these opportunities while minimising and preventing any abuse or exploitation of individuals on zero hours contracts.

This consultation builds upon an information gathering exercise the government undertook this summer. This found a number of benefits associated with zero hours contracts but also identified issues around exclusivity clauses, where individuals on zero hours contracts are being prevented from working for another employer; a lack of clarity in the information and transparency in contracts provided to individuals; and issues over levels of uncertainty individuals on zero hours contracts reported they experienced.

The consultation seeks views on a range of options the government has to address in order to take action. It runs until 13 March 2014.

Copies of the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Published 19 December 2013