I’m a student and I love my zero hours contract! Despite what we are told they aren’t the Antichrist or the epitome of evil but actually quite handy.
In the run up to the general election there has been a lot of negative talk about zero hours contracts with parties suggesting that there should be an outright ban on them as they are exploitative. But surely this is not a sensible, practical move. Many students rely on zero hours contracts to ensure they can earn extra cash around their studies, as in many cases maintenance grants do not cover living costs.
Some weeks us students may have a bombardment of deadlines, whilst during other weeks and holidays we may not have much on at all. In this scenario a flexible zero hours contract is the best option for students.
On the other hand I do understand that for zero hours contracts may be viewed as exploitative. But steps have been taken to make ensure zero hours contracts are fairer to employees, such as the move to ban ‘exclusivity clauses’, allowing people to work on multiple contracts simultaneously. All workers’ rights are the same under zero hours, and the same health and safety/insurance rules apply. Even holiday pay is still included under zero hours contract!
Many of you might be horrified at the thought of not knowing when you’re next pay cheque will be coming and how much it will be, but large numbers of people on zero-hours contracts are perfectly happy without that job security.
Surveys have repeatedly revealed that the majority of people on zero hours contracts don’t believe they are being exploited by nasty bosses. Many students, mothers with young children, retirees and others say they enjoy the flexibility as much as their employers do to say ‘No’ to work when it doesn’t suit them, without any penalty.
If an outright blanket ban were to be enforced after the election then there would be a massive cost to business. Many hospitality, club promotion and charity based organisations would have to reform their corporate structures. On the topic of charities, zero hours contracts are most used in the charity sector with many charity shops up and down the highstreet relying on them to employee volunteers and staff.
Personally speaking I find a zero hours contract is perfect to fit around my studies, I don’t feel exploited or unstable. There has been a lot of rhetoric around zero hours contracts in the run up to May 7th, the vast majority of it negative and so through this blog post I wanted to present another view to the debate on zero hours contracts. Yes they’re far from perfect but at the same time many students rely on them and so a blanket ban would be ridiculously irresponsible and not thought through!
Use the comment section below to give your views on zero hours contracts? What are you first hand experiences of them? Do you think they are exploitative and should be banned?