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Business groups defend zero-hours contracts


Both the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have spoken in favour of zero-hours contracts.


Such contracts have proved controversial in recent months, with political parties in the run up to the General Election promising an outright ban, and a clamp down on exclusivity clauses which may prevent employees from working the hours they need.


However, Christian May of the IoD said: ‘For hundreds of thousands of workers and employers these contracts represent an extremely attractive proposition. A flexible labour market, of which zero-hours contracts are a vital component, has protected the UK from European levels of unemployment’.


A recent publication from the Office for National Statistics showed 697,000 people, or 2.3% of all UK workers, are on zero-hours contracts. Eurozone average unemployment levels currently stand at 11.4% while the UK is now at 5.7%.


CBI Director for Employment and Skills, Neil Carberry, said: Flexible contracts offer an important source of job creation that supports business growth and employees who need to manage different responsibilities.


‘The range of options on offer in the UK is why we are continuing to create thousands of new jobs, and have lower unemployment than many other countries.’