Zero Hour Contracts (v. scathing and pithy)


Well, the Wikipedia article on this is just terrible.

This is all one big plot, isn’t it.  Carefully craft the top google result to be so mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly dull, no-one is actually able to finish reading it.  Still unsure of the precise details that constitute zero hour contracts, we all go out and get proper jobs.  Well played, UK government.  Well played.

I’ve worked zero hour contracts.  And trust me, when you’re the nanny sitting at home all day on a professional agenda so bursting at the seams, you spend your days waiting for the phone to ring only to get a text at 10pm saying “please come tomorrow 6.45am til noon”, you’d give your left leg to be working regular hours.  At McDonald’s.  At least there, you might make employee of the month.  That said…

Really, Vince Cable? I get that you see zero hour contracts as offering employers “flexibility”.  But “welcomed flexibility”?  Really?

A Unite survey suggests “22% of workers employed by private firms are on contracts promising less than three hours a week”.  Well, this officially blows.  I was hoping to live the dream. You know, me, t.v. crew, big cameras, fluffy mic, the whole deal.  But with me technically ‘in work’ and therefore not entitled to any jobseeker’s allowance claim or likewise, I can’t even be on Benefits Street.  On the plus side, with my working week crumbling under the yoke that is four and a half hours’ labour, I will, however, have plenty of time to watch it.  Twice.  And again on catch up after Jeremy Kyle.

When I read zero hour contract workers are in fact entitled to holiday pay, I nearly fell off my chair.  That said, better not.  Unless I’m raking in £109 a week minimum, there won’t be any sick pay to cover my recovery period.  I might also find the whole seating experience to have suddenly taken somewhat of an al-fresco turn.  Without proof of guaranteed hours, looks like I’m not all that eligible for a mortgage, either.

In the attempt to reduce, or at least limit my bias on this, I tried looking into how zero-hour contracts might benefit both employer and employee.

You can do this, Rebecca.  It’s not asking much.  One paragraph.  Just one.  No snark, no sarcasm, no taking whatever you’ve found, ripping it apart and re-constructing its vertebrae at perpendicular angles to spell out ha-ha-ha.  You can do this.


So, how do zero hour contracts benefit the employer?

….And, epic fail. Image

Why, you ask?  Because employers find zero-hour contracts preferable in that they “permit risk management”.  Well, yes.  Your employee is far less-likely to sue you for the spinal fracture he endured as a result of falling down your stairs when he’s never there.

From the employee viewpoint, well, one would think the benefits are self-explanatory.  Don’t want to be tied down by fixed hours?  Want the luxury of not having to work Monday or Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday)?  Looks like all your Christmases just came at once.

Now why does it not surprise me to find that employees working on zero-hour contracts are less-likely to have a degree than those who are not, and more likely to have GCSE grades as their highest level of education.

Congratulations, Great Britain.  Your new breed of ‘workforce’ is on the rise.  They’re so skilled, they’re turning their noses up to counter staff jobs at McDonald’s.  Besides, they’re far too over-qualified for that sort of thing.  Best leave that sector to the foreign demographic.

Now, for your challenge.  Take these snippets of data and try to re-arrange them into something that resembles economic growth and recovery.  Well, I did say challenge.


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