No Inappropriate Use of Zero Hours Contracts

Offering guaranteed working hours increases commitment and reduces turnover.

In a nutshell

Evidence suggests that the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts corrodes trust in the workplace – often putting fear and financial insecurity where fairness and mutual confidence should flourish. This can damage performance and productivity, and in some cases lead to bullying and harassment.

What's the business benefit?

Avoiding the use of zero hours contracts, or using them only in appropriate circumstances, can bring several benefits to your business, including:

  • A more committed and stable workforce which means lower staff turnover and lower recruitment expense;
  • Lower stress levels amongst staff, which means lower rates of absenteeism and sickness;
  • A better reputation as a fair and progressive employer;
  • A stronger brand;
  • Increased productivity.

Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?

Adopting good practice in terms of staff contracts has a positive impact on employees and is key to Scotland becoming a Fair Work Nation.

When employees have guarantees of regular work, they have a regular income stream so commit more clearly to their financial commitments, reducing worry and improving productivity.

Under international human rights law, everybody is entitled to decent and safe conditions at work, with fair wages that provide a decent income for themselves and their families, and reasonable periods of rest.

Why is this good for Scotland?

By using appropriate and fair contracts for staff, we have the chance to bring significant benefits to business and Scotland. We can build trust between employers and staff. We can reduce stress and improve workplace performance. We can enhance health and safety at work.

This offers an opportunity for your business to make a real difference to the wider wellbeing of workers, families and communities.

What should I do now?

Ideally, all you have to do is confirm that you DO NOT employ people on zero hours contracts.

Alternatively, you can also make the commitment that, if zero hours contracts are used in your organisation, they are used appropriately. By appropriate use of zero hours contracts we mean for example that:

  • They are mutually and explicitly agreed with staff;
  • Staff have the option to request guaranteed hours;
  • They are linked to seasonal work, resilience or other functions where workloads are highly variable;
  • Any employees on zero hours contracts have comparable employment rights to other staff.

Stability and security of employment are important in allowing individuals not only to better plan their daily lives, but also to make future plans.

What help is available if I can't make the commitment right now?

It’s important that you have appropriate, legal contracts in place for your employees.

ACAS provides information, advice, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.

Through Business Gateway’s free services, you can also access advice and online Business Guides for employers.