Nash calls on Government to publish ‘if & when’ contracts legislation now

22 September 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Employment Senator Ged Nash who initiated the process to ban zero hour contracts and better regulate the area of precarious work has called on the government to publish the proposed legislation in full now.

Senator Nash said:

“These proposals have been on the blocks for two years. I welcome the fact that Heads of the Bill which was published in May contains many of the key recommendations I made to the previous government.

“This legislation is urgent in order to give people working uncertain hours more certainty over their hours and security over their incomes.

“There are still too many people going to bed on a Sunday night not knowing how many hours they will work that week, and therefore how much they will earn.

“The proposals undoubtedly represent a step in the right direction and we intend to amend the draft legislation to make it stronger.

“One of the key features of the Bill will be the opportunity to have the reality of your working hours reflected in your contract of employment after a reference or ‘look back’ period of 18 months, placing a worker in a relevant band of hours. This reference period needs to be shortened.

“The Minister needs to be careful to ensure that workers should not be disadvantaged in any way by employers exercising their power to place an employee and the bottom end of a band. This could be an unintended consequence of the way the bands are designed and needs to be carefully managed through the legislative process.

“Much is being made of the plan to end the use of ‘zero hour contracts’. This might be a catchy headline but all it really amounts to is as piece of legislative tidying-up, as UK-style zero hour arrangements are not a common feature of the Irish landscape.

“However, ‘if and when’ and low hours contracts are much more prevalent and just as insidious.

“This is the area on which the University of Limerick study zoned in, and this is where the action is required.

“We look forward to the urgent publication of the legislation and to strengthening it further.”

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