CIPD: No ban for zero hours contracts, says business secretary

The government has ruled out banning zero hours contracts, business secretary Vince Cable confirmed today.

Launching a new consultation on their use, Cable said that zero hours arrangements offered “welcome flexibility” for employers.

However, companies could be barred from including exclusivity clauses, where zero hours workers are prevented taking shifts elsewhere, even if their current employer has no hours to offer them.

Cable told the BBC that students or people with young families could benefit from the flexibility afforded by a zero hours contract, but there was evidence of abuse by some employers.

“We do not believe zero hours contracts are bad in themselves,” he explained. “We believe they have a place in today’s labour market and are not proposing to ban them outright, but we also want to make sure that people are getting a fair deal.”

He added that he was “minded to ban the exclusivity ones”.

The use of zero hours contracts have been increasingly under the spotlight this year, particularly since CIPD research revealed that up to one million workers are on such contracts in the UK – quadruple official estimates.

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