Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Reform Jersey response to Zero-Hours contract report

In June 2013, JACS expressed the following concerns about zero-hours
contracts –

“We are concerned that some employers are using zero-hour contracts in circumstances that may not be appropriate.”

As a result, the then Social Security minister agreed a proposition to investigate the use of zero-hours contracts which included the following terms:

csubject to the outcome of consultation with stakeholders, to bring forward for approval suchdraft legislation as is deemed necessary to restrict any proven misuse of zero-hours contracts.

“In a skimpy 12-side report, the current Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel, has failed to address any of the serious issues raised by the use/abuse of zero hours in Jersey” says Deputy Geoff Southern. The report fails to assess, or even address, these vital questions:

  • Why 1 in 10 workers has a zero-hours job in Jersey, (UK 1 in 50)?
  • What the extent of inappropriate use of zero hours is?
  • How do variable incomes interact with the income support system?
  • What do low incomes mean for Sickness benefit thresholds?

The department fails to ask the right questions and therefore comes up with no proposals for regulation, merely a code of practice, which in the absence of any policing can safely be ignored by a rogue employer.Stakeholders, whether employers or employee representatives, have not been consulted, apparently.

No attempt has been made to investigate the impact of zero hours on the 25% of employees reported in the Social Survey as expressing dissatisfaction, or the 50% of workers who complain about the reduction in benefits such as pension or sick pay attached to zero-hours jobs.

“After 18 months of waiting, workers have been let down by this shoddy and superficial report. We shall have to start from scratch to do some proper research and ask the right questions, if we are to make any progress in controlling this controversial element of employment law, says Deputy Southern.

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