Zero hours contracts: Minister's response

30 August 2016 | 8:58am

Use of zero hours contracts remains a hot topic, following changes in the Jersey law position from 1 September 2015.  On 24 August 2016 the Minister for Social Security published her response to the Scrutiny Panel’s recent review.  Both in the foreword and within the detail of the document the Minister emphasises: “…that zero-hour contracts are positive in many circumstances and that flexibility is a key benefit for many employers and employees.”

The Minister rejects a cry from the Scrutiny Panel for further changes to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 in this regard, for reasons including the need to avoid over-regulation and the risk that: “…increasing regulation around zero-hour contracts may give rise to an increase in bogus self-employment, the grey economy (e.g. ‘cash in hand’ work), and other forms of precarious contracts.”

The response recognises the rise in arrangements which enable the engagement of workers through digital platforms such as Uber, a “watch this space” area.

The Minister’s response also notes that the work proposed by Scrutiny: “…could not be undertaken within the context of the [Social Security] Department’s current priorities, which are disability discrimination and a review of family-friendly employment rights.”

The changes in 2015 make it essential that any organisation which uses zero hours contracts reviews its recruitment arrangements and contracts.  Proper use of zero hours contracts in appropriate situations remains valid.  However the benefits for employers of using zero hours contracts may be limited and it is certain that their use will be continue to be under the microscope for some time to come.

Click here for a summary of the Minister’s response.

Click here for the full Ministerial response.

Click here for the JACS Guide.