Zero hours workers 'too afraid to look for work'

Workers on zero hours contracts are often too afraid to look for other jobs and lack the sense of security others in full-time employment enjoy, a study from the conciliation service Acas found.

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Zero hours leave some workers 'feeling vulnerable'

Lack of clear information and exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts can leave employees "feeling vulnerable", the Business Secretary has said.

Vince Cable said Acas' research supported what the Government had found in their review of zero hours contracts:

Whilst zero hours contracts work for some, the use of exclusivity clauses and the lack of clear information can leave employees feeling vulnerable.

That is why I launched a consultation last autumn which looked into the issues of transparency and exclusivity in the use of zero hours contracts, to ensure people are getting a fair deal.

I want to make sure those looking to work flexibly under these types of contracts understand their rights and are not prevented from topping up their income by being tied exclusively to one employer. We will publish our response to the consultation shortly.

– Vince Cable

Workers 'did not even know' they were on zero hours

Many workers "did not seem to even know" they were employed on zero hours contract, with some believing they were permanent staff because of their length of service, a study has shown.

Data from conciliation service Acas showed workers on zero hours often experienced deep seeded insecurities about their long-term employment prospects.

Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber, said:

A lot of workers on zero hours contracts are afraid of looking for work elsewhere, turning down hours, or questioning their employment rights in case their work is withdrawn or reduced.

This deep rooted "effective exclusivity" can be very damaging to trust and to the employment relationship.

There also appeared to be a lack of transparency on the terms of their contractual arrangements.

Many people did not seem to even know that they were on a zero hours contracts and some believed they were on a permanent contract due to the length of their service.

– Sir Brendan Barber


Zero hours workers afraid to job hunt

Employees on zero hours schemes are too afraid to search for a new job and feel excluded from the sense of security other full-time workers enjoy, a study has shown.

Workers on zero hours are too afraid to look for work elsewhere because they already feel committed to one employer, the survey showed. Credit: PA

Conciliation service Acas said it was receiving around 70 calls a week about zero hours contacts, and a feeling of "effective exclusivity" of being tied to a single employer was emerging as a major concern.

Their data showed many zero hours workers experienced "a deep sense of unfairness and mistrust".

The Government has been consulting on the use of zero hours contracts amid calls from unions and campaign groups to have them banned.

Labour has pledged to tackle abuses of zero hours contracts if it wins the next general election.

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