The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has welcomed a government review into how zero hours contracts are being used by employers in the UK.
Zero hours contracts have been criticised by some because they allow employers to put workers on standby without a guaranteed minimum number of hours or pay.
Last week Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the Department of Business Skills and Innovation (BIS) said: “There has been anecdotal evidence of abuse by certain employers, including in the public sector, of some vulnerable workers at the margins of the labour market.
“Whilst it’s important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally important that it is treated fairly.”
Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of ARC agrees, he said: “Agencies are tightly regulated and there are existing laws that cover most potential areas of abuse of workers. Also employees have considerable statutory protections under the Working Time Regulations and National Minimum Wage legislation.
“However, it will be interesting to know whether current laws are being adhered to and enforced and to understand the types of circumstances in which abuses are arising. The ARC and its’ members look forward to the outcome of this review.”
According to the British Labour Force Survey the total number of employees on zero hours contracts rose 25 per cent over the course of 2012 and more than 150 per cent since the autumn of 2005.
BIS plans to carry out an informal fact-finding exercise by speaking to organisations using these type of contracts. They will not have far to go; The Houses of Parliament has advertised for zero hours reporters to work on Hansard, the parliamentary record!