Zero hours contracts ‘reducing’

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New figures show that Scotland continues to make progress in reducing the number of employees on zero hours contracts.

The ONS release ‘Contracts with No Guaranteed Hours: Autumn 2015’ shows the following for October to December 2015:

• Scotland has the lowest proportion of people in employment on a zero hours contract of all the countries of the UK (Scotland 2.2 per cent, UK 2.5 per cent)

• The proportion of people in employment on a zero hours contracts in Scotland decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the year whereas in the UK it increased by 0.3 percentage points.

• The estimated number of people who are employed on a zero hours contract in Scotland is 59,000 (down 1,000 over the year).

Commenting, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Scottish Government firmly believes that making employees feel valued, rewarded and engaged in their work is good for growing a sustainable, strong economy.

“We are leading by example by not directly employing people on zero hours contracts and absolutely condemn the inappropriate use of them.

“Work practices which place unfair burdens on employees are unacceptable and undermine our ambitions to grow our economy and tackle inequalities in our society.

“I am very pleased to see, therefore, that we have made further progress in reducing the number of people who are employed on such terms.

“While zero hours contracts can offer some people the flexibility they want in many instances they are exploitative with employers denying staff regular or sufficient working hours or unfairly penalising them for being unavailable or not accepting offers of work. This is in direct contrast to today’s Oxfam report into ‘what makes decent work’ where job security is highlighted as one of the top priorities for low paid people.

“That’s why we are working with employers, large and small, to encourage fair and progressive work practises through our support for the Living Wage and Business Pledge. The Fair Work Convention, established last year, is also considering zero hours contracts in its role to reduce inequality and promote diversity, innovation and equality in the workplace while we grow our economy. Their final report will be published later this month.

“While employment law is reserved to the UK Government, we will continue to do everything we can to promote fair working practices and discourage the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts with the powers available to us.”

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