26 Jul 2019

Zero-hours workers to benefit from new rights and extra protections

Zero-hours workers to benefit from new rights and extra protections

Millions of zero-hours and "gig economy" workers are to benefit from new rights and extra protections under proposed UK Government reforms.

The planned changes are described as being part of the largest upgrade in workers' rights in a generation.

The Government is to consult on new measures for flexible workers, including:

  • Compensation when shifts are cancelled at short notice.
  • Entitlement to a reasonable period of notice for allocated shifts.
  • Additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept shifts at the last minute.

But the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the proposed changes still don’t go far enough.

It added: "This is welcome news, but it won't do anything to reform a jobs market that allows bosses to treat workers like disposable labour."

Call to ban zero-hour contracts

The TUC wants the Government to ban zero-hours contracts - it has argued for years that workers can't make ends meet on these contracts.

Hundreds of thousands of UK workers are reported to be trapped in jobs so insecure they're unable to plan childcare or budget for their weekly shop.

Flexible working is often used in industries such as couriers and hospitality and in the retail sector.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities - providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.

But it added that it was vital that workers' rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle firms that do not treat their staff fairly.

UK first to address issues

The UK is said to be the first country in the world to address modern working practices.

Low Pay Commission Chair Bryan Sanderson said: "We are delighted to see the Government taking forward our recommendation to consult on these measures.

"Last year, we looked at the data on one-sided flexibility and talked to workers and businesses across the UK.

"Our report, published in December, found that shift cancellations and short notice of work schedules were significant problems, especially for low-paid workers.

"The proposed changes, part of a package of policies we suggested, have the potential to improve work and life for hundreds of thousands of people."

Speak to an expert employment solicitor

Our lawyers advise on a wide range of employment issues.

If you would like to speak to one of our employment lawyers about your circumstances, click here.

Please correct the errors below before submitting your request:

Get in touch

Our dedicated client contact team prefer to receive enquiries through our contact form. We'll endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours or during the course of the next working day.

Tick this box if you wish to receive news and offers from Aberdein Considine. By doing, you indicate your consent to receiving targeted email marketing messages from us. On each occasion that we contact you in the future, you will be given the option to opt-out from receiving such messages. You may also email marketing@acandco.com at any time to opt-out.

The personal information that you provide to us in this form will only ever be used by Aberdein Considine (as the Data Controller) for the following specifically defined purposes:

  • email you content that you have requested from us
  • with your consent, occasionally email you with targeted information regarding our service offerings
  • continually honour any opt-out request you submit in the future
  • comply with any of our legal and/or regulatory obligations