The Queen sets out the legislative agenda for the last year of the coalition Government - tougher penalties for failing to pay minimum wage and abuse of zero hours contracts

04 June 2014

Warren Wayne

Employment lawyer and partner at Bird & Bird LLP, Warren Wayne, comments:

"While it is important to ensure that employers are not using zero-hours contracts as a way to avoid paying the minimum wage, it also has to be recognised that zero hours contracts provide a useful mechanism for businesses to operate a flexible and efficient workforce. They enable workers to find paid work, in circumstances where they may otherwise have been unable to. The Government needs to ensure that it does not discourage the appropriate use of zero hours contracts and that it focuses on protecting workers from employers who might try to abuse them.

"Any changes in the law need to be of benefit to both employers and employees. There will need to be a balance between banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, so that workers are free to increase their income by working elsewhere, and ensuring that staff are available to work where businesses need them. Banning exclusivity clauses completely is likely to significantly reduce the use of zero-hours contracts, which is not ultimately beneficial to either employees or employers who value or need the flexibility and efficiencies they can bring."

For further comment, please contact:

Lizzie Hannaway, Bird & Bird

020 7415 6000