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Zero-Hour Contract Laws To Change?

A review has suggested some changes to employment law for staff on zero-hour contracts.

The Employment Forum  has reviewed the contract types after the States agreed in 2021 their use needed to be analysed following calls to regulate zero-hour contracts to protect employees.

In the proposal brought to the Assembly, it asked for a change to:

  • The definition of zero-hour contracts,
  • How available staff should be expected to be,
  • A ban on exclusivity clauses,
  • A right for workers who have regular hours to ask their employer for a contract reflecting the hours worked,
  • A right to reasonable notice of a work schedule,
  • And the right to compensation for shift cancellation without notice.

Exclusivity clauses, which meant employers could prevent staff on zero-hours contracts from taking jobs with other companies, were banned in last spring.  They became unenforceable on 27 May 2022.

The independent Employment Forum has been reviewing the other aspects, following a public consultation that ran last summer.

It's recommended:

  • No change be made to the definition of the contract type,
  • No laws are made to prevent employers from calling on staff to be available,
  • It supports recent changes in the law regarding exclusivity clauses, as a result, no further action is needed,
  • The Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 should be amended to give workers the right to request an update of employment terms if they work regular hours to reflect the working pattern,
  • There will be no enforcement of the statutory right to notice before a work schedule is published, but it should be done as good practice,
  • There will be no enforcement of the statutory right to compensation if a shift is cancelled, but it should be done as good practice,
  • There needs to be education surrounding the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.

The government has agreed that more can be done to educate the island on the rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Minister for Social Security, Deputy Elaine Millar, says it is deciding how it will take on board the recommendations going forward.

“I’m grateful to the members of the Employment Forum for their report and recommendations in relation to zero-hour contracts and their review of the way in which some current employment protections are working in Jersey."

It was also determined that more needs to be done to prevent employers from abusing work permit provisions.

Employers must pay no less than the 'going rate' for a full-time role of someone working 40 hours per week for the permit to be valid.

Currently, in Jersey, around 11% (6,470) of jobs are zero-hours contracts.

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