Zero-hours ban is progress
by Lughan Deane and Hazel Gavigan
New legislation that would improve security for workers on ‘zero-hour’ contracts has been broadly welcomed by unions. Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) general secretary, Patricia King said the Bill “marks some progress on these very important issues for workers.”
The Bill, which was moved by employment minister Regina Doherty earlier this month, bans zero hours contracts in all cases except emergency cover, short-term relief work, or genuine casual work.
The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill would also oblige employers to give workers information on the duration of their contract, the rate or method of calculating pay, and the normal length of the working day – all within five days of taking the job. It also sets out a minimum payment due to ‘zero hours’ employees who are called into work, only to be sent home again.
In an interview in the latest IMPACT members’ audio bulletin, Minister Doherty said that the legislation was required because of a small number of “rogue employers who treat their employees with such disrespect.”
But unions are concerned that the bill excludes casual workers. “It is our view that all workers should be covered by this prohibition,” said Patricia King. ICTU said it would lobby hard for amendments to the Bill.