I always it a shame that politicians, and in particular those with little experience of real life, choose to make rules just because they think it will be popular.
Labour choosing to ban zero hour contracts is a case in point.
These contracts provide flexibility for the employee and employer. Flexibility means less risk which means a chance can be taken to expand a business.
Here are a couple of scenarios that Labour would effectively ban.
The first one is a mum with a young child. She has stayed at home for the first year of the little one’s life but is starting to feel the need to engage with other adults. She wants part time work and wants the timings to be as flexible as possible to help manage child care arrangements, which involve the extended family. She is concerned that if grandad has one of his turns he might not be able to look after the little one as often as will be required. Luckily, aunty is available every other week because she works weekly alternate day and night shifts.
Working at the local hotel is convenient and operates a zero hour contract scheme. She understands her rate of pay, her contractual rights and obligations and has a framework to work when it is convenient. This all seems like a perfect arrangement. She knows she cannot commit to a set number of hours per week or even set shifts but is happy to fill in when it is convenient.
If Labour ban zero hour contracts she will not be able to work.
The second scenario involves a young man. He works part time in a bar but wants more work. He is made aware of an events company that provides activities for corporate events. The company owner is getting older and finds the humping an dumping of equipment difficult to manage. Profits are thin but he would like to continue in business because he wants to pay his way.
The young man is offered a zero hours contract. He will be called upon to help the business owner set up and break down the activities at the corporate events. Work is uncertain but once an event is booked the dates are set allowing the young man to mange the hours he works in the bar. He really enjoys this work and the business owner has been talking about getting him more involved in the running of the events.
The business would likely close if zero hour contracts were not use.
Legislation by politicians who seek to ban or stop something inevitable end up harming people through unintended consequences. Ed Miliband please rethink this one.