Belfast Telegraph

MLA seeks clarity over zero-hours contracts

BY COLIN FRANCIS

An SDLP MLA has asked the Assembly to clarify the rights of workers on zero-hours contracts.

Pat Ramsey has submitted a motion calling on the Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, to explain the rights and entitlements of casual workers over sick benefits and holiday pay.

He said a recent employment tribunal in England has brought the opportunity to address concerns about the frequently-used employment status.

Mr Ramsey said: “The Office of National Statistics deems the number of people in the UK on zero-hour contracts to be around 250,000 and it has been estimated that in the North there are as many as 4% of the entire workforce — though I suspect the number is much higher.

“In this economic climate we know employers are seeking a more flexible workforce.

“However, we must ensure as best possible the rights of workers are protected and that any legal issues around employment status are clarified to ensure employers and employees are clear on their rights and responsibilities.”

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