11 March 2014

I’ve never been a fan of zero-hours contracts. Whilst I understand that they’re useful for a handful of people, the idea that they might become the most prevalent working set up just isn’t an idea I can get behind. So you can imagine my reaction when I saw the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of people working this way is actually twice what the government had previously thought, at almost 583,000 employees!

That’s almost 583,000 employees – minus the handful who require the flexibility of zero-hours – who cannot say with certainty how much they are able to earn each week because their employers aren’t contractually obliged to offer them a minimum number of hours. What a way to stifle ambition!

Perhaps people find benefit in zero-hours contracts. I don’t know; you’ll have to tell me if you’re reading this and have strong feelings one way or another. Personally I can’t see how, as a business owner, you can create an engaged, inspired team when they’re constantly worried about getting enough work each week.

Shouldn’t you be striving to create a secure, supportive culture where employees feel loyal and energised? Is this possible when your team faces insecurity about their wages – the wages they will need to pay the bills? And can individuals feel like valued members of a company when it won’t commit to their development, engagement and, ultimately, payment?

Zero commitment contracts. What do you make of them?

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