Zero Hours Contracts – The Taylor Report

20 February 2018

Commissioned by the government, Matthew Taylor, the head of the Royal Society of Arts began his inquiry into ‘controversial employment practices’.  That was ten months ago and the report was published on 11 July 2017. 

Part of the inquiry delved into zero hours’ contracts.  According to the office for national statistics approximately 905,000 (October-December 2016) people are employed on zero hours’ contracts. The flexibility of zero hours’ contracts works well for both parties as it, gives that freedom of being able to choose what hours work for your business, which is especially essential where the work is seasonal, and the worker the freedom of being able to choose. 

The report reinforces the need for flexibility in the UK’s labour market but on more favourable terms for the worker.  In fact Mr Taylor describes the UK’s flexible labour market as one of the economy’s biggest strengths.  This is in direct contrast to the Labour party’s view, who planned to ban zero hour contracts altogether.

Among other things the report called for:

  • Employees on zero hour contracts to be given the right to request to be moved onto a contract with fixed hours after 12 months’ service with the average hours worked over that period being the starting point. By way of encouragement Mr Taylor also recommends that workers receive a higher rate of pay for any hours that are not fixed. 
  • The gap bridging employment between bouts of work to be increased to one month (as opposed to 7 days) to enable continuous employment.
  • Rolled up holiday pay for those working on flexible working arrangements (including agency workers)

Last week the government issued its proposals based on the Taylor report and among other things it will be:

  • Defining ‘working time’ for flexible workers who find jobs through apps or online so they know when they should be being paid
  • A contract with more predictable and secure working conditions, and explore the most effective approach to doing so;
  • Launching a task force with business to promote awareness and take-up of the right to request flexible working introduced in 2014

The government will launch 4 other consultations on:

  • Consultation on enforcement of employment rights recommendations
  • Consultation on agency workers recommendations
  • Consultation on measures to increase transparency in the UK Labour market
  • cCnsultation on employment status

Trying to determine if someone could truly be considered to be employed on a zero hours’ contract could prove tricky.  If you need support or advice on zero hours’ arrangements, please contact us.


For more on contractual information see the Contractual Information Guides

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