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Proposed ban on zero-hours contracts “completely the wrong move”, says IEA expert

Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the TUC’s demands for the government to ban zero-hours contracts 

“Once again the TUC wants to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on the labour market.

“Zero-hours contracts are not ideal for some workers, but for a significant number who cannot or do not wish to commit to fixed hours they may be the only form of employment they can take on. 

“Nearly a fifth of all workers on zero-hours contracts are full-time students. Many more are semi-retired older workers, or people with family and caring responsibilities. Some already have a full-time job elsewhere, but take on extra zero-hours contracts to augment their income. 

“Crucially, few of them – less than 20 per cent in recent Labour Force Survey figures – want a new full-time job or longer hours. 

“The effect of a ban would be to exclude some workers from employment. Faced with higher costs, businesses would almost certainly aim to consolidate on fewer employees working longer hours, drawn from a different age group and demographic. A complete ban on zero-hours contracts would be completely the wrong move at a time when we need greater, rather than less, labour market flexibility to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment.”

Notes to Editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715942731

Professor Len Shackleton is available for further comment.

For further IEA reading on zero hours contracts click here.

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