With an estimated one million workers now on zero-hours contracts in the UK, the concept of employment has a vast array of negative connotations.
There is no guaranteed job security, while many of the benefits experienced by those in full time employment are merely passed on and forgotten about.
A return to another era?
In some quarters, they have even been described as a return to ‘Victorian Britain’.
For those on zero-hours contracts they have no fixed place of work and as a result no fixed level of income.
They agree to work as and when they are required, although they have no obligation to accept any work offered to them and will only be paid for any hours worked.
Therefore they are not a viable means of supporting a family as the levels of money available fall way below what would be received in a more permanent role.
Many rights such as redundancy pay and pensions are not included within such arrangements, while many people are unable to take up other jobs due to effectively being ‘on call’.
Around 200,000 people in the public sector are experiencing this issue as they never know when they will need to be available.
A recent study suggested that 97% of councils use zero-hours contracts to provide home care, while approximately 10% of schools use them to employ staff.
How do injury claims fit into a zero-hours contract?
It is also worth pointing out that negotiating something like an injury claim becomes more complicated than it would for a direct employee.
For those in financial peril, zero-hours contracts are making their lives a misery as they can never know how much income they will have from one week to the next.
This makes budgeting very difficult and is increasing the number of people who are becoming dependant on quick loans to get by financially.
A flexible workforce does have its advantages as it means companies can satisfy demand, but in most cases the workers lose their rights and are left in difficult situations.
With 3% of the nation’s workforce now on these types of contracts, there is a greater need than ever before to ensure that they have the rights they deserve.