world : Proposal to ban zero-hour contracts in NI

world : Proposal to ban zero-hour contracts in NI
world : Proposal to ban zero-hour contracts in NI

Monday 1 July 2024 08:30 AM

Nafeza 2 world - Stormont’s economy minister is expected to propose a ban on zero-hour contracts in Northern Ireland.

Conor Murphy will outline the details in an assembly statement on Monday.

The Labour Party has also promised to end "exploitative" zero-hour contracts and "one-sided flexibility" if it wins this week’s election.

Labour’s measures would not automatically apply in Northern Ireland as employment law is largely devolved.

Zero-hour contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of the hours they will work.

They are mainly used in the hospitality and retail sectors.

There was a previous attempt to reform zero-hour contracts in NI when Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan brought forward a private members bill in 2021.

It did not provide for an outright ban on the contracts but proposed a right to request banded hours to provide certainty regarding the number of hours that a worker could typically expect to receive.

It is not yet clear if Mr Murphy’s proposals will take a similar approach.

He is due to announce a range of other employment law reforms.

During scrutiny of Ms Dolan’s bill, MLAs heard that an estimated 11,000 workers, representing approximately 1.3% of the Northern Ireland workforce, were covered by zero-hour contracts.

Some stakeholders suggested that this figure may be higher given that many workers employment status may not be recognised as a zero-hour contract.

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