‘If and When’ Employees Left Vulnerable

A recent study by academics at the Kemmy Business School has found that ‘If and When’ employees are vulnerable because they may not be defined as employees in employment law and therefore may not have many employment rights. Commissioned by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the findings are a result of a study and subsequent report into  ‘zero hours’ contracts in Ireland, particularly in the hospitality, retail, health and education sectors.  This is the first study of its kind in Ireland and it contains a number of significant findings. For instance, the report found that zero hours contracts are just one type of contract with non-guaranteed working hours but that zero hours contracts are not prevalent. A second type of contract with non-guaranteed hours is known as an ‘If and When’ contract and these are prevalent. The fundamental difference between the two types of contract is that individuals with a zero hours contract are contractually required to make themselves available for work with an employer, while individuals with an ‘If and When’ contract are not contractually required to make themselves available for work with an employer. 

The report makes a number of recommendations many of which centre on the introduction of new employment legislation stipulating that: (i) employees should receive a statement of their terms and conditions of employment by the first day of their job, (ii) that individuals should get minimum guaranteed hours of work after the first 6 months of a job and (iii) that employees should get longer notice for being called into work or for the cancellation of work. 

The report, entitled ‘A Study on the Prevalence of Zero Hours Contracts among Irish Employers and the Impact on Employees’ by the Kemmy Business School was presented to the then Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD late last year. Further information is available at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

 

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