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Zero hours contracts - workers still need more protection

Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed new plans to help workers on Zero Hours contracts, but have said they need much more protection from exploitation by bad employers.

The UK Government have said they will give more flexibility to Zero Hours workers by ending ‘exclusivity clauses’ which stop people applying for other work during periods when they have no hours with their own employer. 

CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee says, 

“The mis-use of Zero Hours contracts is becoming an increasing concern in CAB advisers across Scotland. We have seen an increase in cases where people are falling into financial difficulty because of significant variances in their working hours from week to week. Many are having to get into debt just to get by, or are relying on foodbanks. There’s a real lack of awareness of what legal protections such workers have, and we’ve also seen cases of people  having their hours suddenly cut in an attempt to make them resign. 

“A ban on exclusivity clauses would be a welcome step in the right direction. But we think the UK Government must go further to ensure that workers on zero hours contracts are protected from exploitation and hardship. We would like to see the forthcoming Bill strengthened to give workers more protection from bad employers - for example the right to request a contract that guarantees work, without fear of losing their jobs.” 

CAS is currently compiling evidence from Scottish CAB cases involving people on Zero Hours contracts, and we will be publishing a detailed report on this next month.


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