Influential Report On Gig Economy To Be Published In June
A government-commissioned review into employment practices is expected to say that workers on zero-hours contracts should be the given the right to request “guaranteed hours”.
Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, is leading the review into insecure work and the gig economy, and he is due to announce his findings in June.
The idea for a right to ask for fixed hours is supported by the Confederation of British Industry. The CBI said all employees should receive a written statement that sets out the key terms of their employment and their rights.
Unions are less supportive and the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “This could mean close to zero action on zero-hours contracts. A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours from an exploitative boss is no right at all for many workers. To make a real change, we should turn this policy on its head. Everyone should be entitled to guaranteed hours, with a genuine choice for workers to opt out, free from pressure from their boss. Anyone asked to work outside their contracted hours should be paid extra on top of their usual wage.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 900,000 people are on zero-hours contracts.
“Even if the Government adopts this proposal, the right to request guaranteed hours is not the same as the right to work a fixed number of hours per week. I assume that the employer facing such a request will be able to turn it down, without risk, if it has a good business reason for doing so. A good business reason could be potentially very wide ranging and might include factors such as the burden of additional costs, inability to reorganise work around existing staff to accommodate the request or simply insufficiency of work.”
“In addition, it is not clear whether there will be restrictions on how many hours the employee can request. In theory, a zero hours worker could request anything from being guaranteed a couple of hours a week to 48 hours a week and everything in between.”Glenn Hayes,Partner
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