Flexibility of zero hours contracts key to economic recovery
17 Sep, 2013
Zero hours contracts are set to be a crucial element in the economic recovery and their abolition would have a negative impact on businesses of all sizes.
That’s the view of leading employment lawyer Katherine Maxwell (pictured) from Moore Blatch who said that zero hours contracts offer both employers and employees flexibility in what is still a fluctuating and uncertain economic situation.
Her comments follow massive interest and criticism over zero hours contracts, calls for them to be banned and the government’s consultation to tackle the abuse of zero hours contracts, announced this week at the Liberal Democrat conference.
The CBI believes that unemployment would have hit the three million mark without the availability of zero hours contracts but unions say the contracts are unfair and leave employees insecure financially.
“There continues to be a tremendous amount of controversy over zero hours contracts and whether or not they are fair,’’ said Katherine. “But used correctly they are vital for so many companies to cope with changing business circumstances.’’
She said their abolition could have a huge effect on a business’ ability to trade through what are still difficult economic conditions. “Companies need to be flexible and manage their resources very closely whether that is supplies, capacity or people.’’
It’s estimated that more than one million workers are on zero hours contracts with numbers rising as companies look for the most cost-efficient way to manage staff levels.
Katherine said that companies who might otherwise face financial hardship can manage staffing levels with employees on zero hours contracts.
“The vast majority of companies are using these contracts in the best interests of their business and employees but it is important that they are structured correctly for the best long term prospects for both parties.’’