Blogs

Derek Bishop

Director

The zero hours debate

Date added: 11th Mar 2016
Category: Employee Engagement

Whatever your view on zero hours contracts, I would suspect that individual experiences will have been affected by the culture of the organisation.

Sheer exploitation; or a valuable option for those who seek to manage their work-life balance? The zero hours debate has hit the headlines once again with the news that New Zealand has effectively banned zero hours contracts.

Legislation passed by the New Zealand Parliament means that with effect from 1 April employers in New Zealand will have to guarantee a minimum number of hours per week and workers can refuse requests for extra hours without repercussion. This latter clause is somewhat akin to amended zero hours regulations which came into force in the UK in May 2015 and which prevented employers from enforcing an exclusivity clause; but New Zealand has gone one step further in requiring employers to guarantee a minimum number of hours.

Whatever your view on zero hours contracts, I would suspect that individual experiences will have been affected by the culture of the organisation.  As the ACAS website says, ‘zero hours contracts can be used to provide a flexible workforce to meet a temporary or changeable need for staff.’ But whether those on zero hours contracts are seen as valuable members of the team or as work fodder to be used and discarded as required, will largely depend on the way in which the organisation views and treats its employees.

Those organisations with a culture of employee engagement and care are far more likely to have loyal people, no matter what the contract, than those who view employees simply as headcount. When you care for your people, when you seek to engage them in the strategy and values of the business then you are far more likely to be rewarded in return with loyal people looking to deliver great customer service.

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