At a time when zero hours contracts have been subject to so much criticism the report - Zero-hours and short-hours contracts in the UK: Employer and employee perspectives - makes interesting reading.
The report has sought the views of both employees and employers and suggests that these contracts work well for many of those who are employed on them with the majority of workers saying that they are satisfied with their jobs and the support they receive. The CIPD suggest that modest changes to current legislation should be discussed but the abolition of zero hours contracts is likely to be both ineffective and counterproductive.
The report also presents comparable data for those employed on short hours contracts, defined as being jobs that guarantee up to eight hours work a week - a group who the CIPD have previously identified as being more satisfied with their situation than any other group of workers.
For those who have been less fortunate when working under zero hours contracts some protection has finally been brought into effect by the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations).
Last year we commented on the banning of exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts and also highlighted employer guidance that had been introduced by BIS on zero hour contracts (our blog on this can be accessed here).
Although the banning of exclusivity clauses (which prevent workers working for anyone else even when they are not being given any work by the employer) was seen as a positive step, the general view was still that this was not going far enough and that greater protection was needed.
Further protection was introduced with effect from 11 January 2016 in the form of the Regulations. They provide that where a zero hour contract employee is dismissed, and the principal reason for that dismissal is that the employee breached an exclusivity clause in their contract, the dismissal will be automatically unfair. No qualifying period of service is required to allow the employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim in these circumstances.
In addition, the Regulations provide that it is unlawful to submit a zero hour worker to any detriment if they work for another employer in breach of an exclusivity clause. It is worth noting that this protection is of wider application as it applies to the broader category of workers, rather than only employees.