Zero-Hours Contracts: Consultation Event

NICVA hosted an event to discuss the Department for Employment and Learning's public consultation on zero-hours contracts.

The event was attended by over 40 representatives from across the community and voluntary sector. The presentations helped them to learn more about the perceived rise in the use of zero-hours contracts, the role they play in the labour market, and the specific issues that the consultation is addressing.

A zero-hours contract is an employment contract in which employees have no guaranteed weekly hours or shift patterns – instead they are offered work as and when required by their employer. Employees should have the right to turn down any work that is offered.

Ian Brinkley from the Work Foundation gave an overview of some of the statistics and information (where it was available) on zero-hours contracts, the experience of people on the contracts, and some of the potential policy responses to the issues raised in the consultation.

David Fry from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Northern Ireland gave a presentation on the reasons that some businesses may use zero-hours contracts, the flexibility this offers to employee, employer and the flexibility of the labour market, and the use of exclusivity clauses (which prohibit an employee from working for another employer).

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

The public consultation is open for responses until 5:00pm 29 September 2014. The consultation document and how to respond is available on the Department of Employment and Learning website. Workers and employers can also find out more information and advice on Employment Rights.

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