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Flexibility or insecurity? Exploring the rise in zero hours contracts

09 July 2013

Ian Brinkley, Director of The Work Foundation
Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South
Kevin Green, Chief Executive, Recruitment and Employers Confederation
Nicola Smith, Head of Economic and Social Affairs, TUC
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon
• Chair, Siobhan Kennedy, Business correspondent, Channel 4 News

The event:

Zero-hours contracts – where the employee has no guarantee of work, but is expected to work when required – are an increasing part of the UK labour market. While still a small share of employment, they are important in sectors such as care, retail and hospitality. And there are concerns their use is spreading into higher education and the NHS.

For some, these are exploitative contracts which provide insecure employment at the whim of the employer. Yet for others they offer the flexibility employers need to keep employment high despite the weak economy. What’s the truth behind zero hours contracts? And what should the response from policymakers and employers be?

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