New laws cracking down on 'zero-hours contracts' come into force

New laws cracking down on 'zero-hours contracts' come into force
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New laws cracking down on zero-hour contracts and precarious employment come into effect today.

The legislation also aims to address the challenges faced by casual workers.

Described as 'one of the most significant pieces of employment legislation in a generation, the new act aims to improve security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts.

It is being introduced in response to the increased casualisation of work - and strengthen regulations for so-called 'precarious employment' where workers fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent staff rights.

Among the measures it includes: restrictions on zero-hours contracts, anti-penalty provisions for workers who invoke their rights, and core-terms of employment to be supplied to employees within five days of starting work.

Welcoming the new law, ICTU General Secretary Patricia King said: “Workers’ rights have been significantly improved thanks to the trade union movement successfully pushing for legal protection around the working hours of the lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers.

“Zero-hour and low-hours contracts give employers complete discretion when it comes to working hours. Rogue bosses, taking full advantage of this, unashamedly use the threat of reduced hours to keep workers in-line and to punish workers for being unavailable.

"It is stressful, humiliating and makes it next to impossible for workers to plan ahead or to budget for their household expenses. The day-to-day reality of such working conditions for workers has no place in a modern, wealthy economy. This new law rightly puts an end this power-imbalance, " she added

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