10 Mar Miminum hours better than zero hours contracts?
How do YOU apply the working hours regime for your domestic staff? Are they full-time, or part-time with specified hours? Or on a zero hours contract where an employer can call an employee in as and when they are required for work?
For many people, their domestic staff, nanny/housekeeper, carer, etc, will be full-time. This gives the employer security in the knowledge that, barring illness and holidays etc, they will have their staff working on the job. For the employee it gives security of employment and maximises their income potential.
But what about those who are simply called in as and when they are needed and on a so-called zero hours contract? For the employer it can be considered a one way benefit: they only pay when they need the employee on hand. For the employee there are several disadvantages: lack of continuity, no security of earning and being unable to claim benefits when not working as they are actually on a contract, be it a zero hours contract.
Training opportunities will not exist and surely there must be a build-up of resentment, as the employee usually only accepts such a contract when there is no alternative employment.
In this country we have long had a minimum wage; it ensures at least an earnings threshold. Perhaps it is time we knocked the zero hours contract on the head and settled for a minimum hours contract?
While some employers would feel perhaps that are having to pay for times when they don’t need staff, for employees it would be hard to think that many would feel aggrieved at such a change. Not only would they have greater security of earnings, but feel a greater sense of loyalty to the job and employer and perhaps even better about themselves.
While none of us feel we have to undertake social work by making staff feel better about themselves, having happier, more contented staff generally leads to an enhanced relationship for both parties. And that can’t be bad!