Zero Hours Contracts Consultation

The Department for Employment and Learning has released a consultation on Zero Hours Contracts in Northern Ireland.

NICVA's response to the consultation can be viewed here.

When launching the consultation the Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry MLA, stated “this consultation will help to determine the extent of their use in Northern Ireland and to provide a clearer picture of their benefit to our economy.”

It will also seek views on key elements such as exclusivity clauses and whether there is sufficient transparency for employees around the detailed conditions that apply to these contracts.

The consultation seeks views on the following options:

  • banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts or prohibiting the exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts that guarantee less than a given weekly level of gross pay or hours
  • introducing a right to request guaranteed hours or fixed-term working on the part of a worker on a zero-hours contract following a period of continuous employment
  • introducing minimum payment in lieu of work, where no work is provided but where there existed an expectation that there would be work
  • the provision of annualised hours instead of zero-hours contracts in some circumstances
  • encouraging the production of an employer-led code of practice on the fair use of exclusivity clauses
  • continuing to rely on existing common law redress that enables individuals to challenge exclusivity clauses.

It also seeks views on improving the content and accessibility of information, advice and guidance; encouraging a broader, employer-led code of practice that covers the fair use of zero-hours contracts generally.

The consultation also includes a number of questions that are aimed specifically at employers and employees.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is the 29 September 2014. The consultation document and response booklet is available on the DEL website. Responses do not have to be made using the response booklet.

The Ministers statement launching the consultation made in the Assembly is available here.

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