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How do they square this?

(5 Posts)
ipadquietly Wed 03-Apr-13 12:07:05

These quotes are from two Guardian articles today:

'A new frontier of the battle over the welfare state is being opened up as employment ministers look for ways to target the working poor by asking 1 million in-work recipients of tax credits to do more to boost their earnings. Under the proposals, jobcentre staff will have powers to withdraw universal credit if claimants are deemed to be doing too little to increase their earnings.'

'Almost a quarter of Britain's major employers now recruit staff on zero-hours contracts that keep workers on standby and deny them regular hours. According to government estimates, 23% of employers with more than 100 staff have adopted the flexible contract terms for at least some staff following a surge in the number of public sector services contracted out to private providers.'

Can anyone explain how the aspirations in quote 1 are realistic, when there are so few jobs and so many zero-hour contracts? Are they living in cloud cuckoo land, or am I misunderstanding something?

niceguy2 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:20:32

The zero hours thing is relatively new and I think in time will settle down. My fiancee's company uses these contracts as a way of employing people and seeing how they fare without a huge commitment on either side. At her company, if you prove yourself to be reliable and a good worker then you can pretty much choose as many hours you want. The work is there. On the other hand if you are not reliable, turn up late, lazy/whatever then they'll give you nothing until you find another job elsewhere.

Is it right/wrong? I can see it from both sides. The key thing for me is that by offering zero hours, companies effectively limit themselves to the types of people they can employ.

At the moment the benefits system is such that many employees (understandably) cannot take the risk of a zero hours contract. They'd simply lose too much and be taking a big gamble on hours. So the types of people my OH's company currently can take on zero hours are generally single with no dependants or those looking to make some extra cash rather than as a main income.

It will be interesting to see how UC affects this. If it is indeed much more flexible as planned then this could be a good thing. People may not be so scared about taking a zero hours contract.

Oodsigma Wed 03-Apr-13 17:38:38

Dh is on a zero hours contract. There are 2 contracted staff and him so anything over the other 2s hours dh has. Some weeks it's 60 hours some 0. He did have other work filling in the gaps but its dried up. We don't claim anything at present and are trying to last as long as we can without it but its a bit scary when you see how little work is out there.

ipadquietly Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:21

How could you claim benefit without knowing how many hours you were going to work in week, or what your income was going to be?

NiceTabard Thu 04-Apr-13 10:16:23

the zero hours thing bothers me as it makes it so hard for people to live, it's so unpredictable. You are tied to being available but no guarantee of any actual work. Also because the only times I've seen them used have been in companies with high levels of women working - I guess that many women are in the situation of being not the main earner but also pretty desperate for work and so the employers can get away with it with them.

The stuff about cutting your benefits if you are not doing enough to boost your earnings - I don't understand this. For people who are employed full time what on earth are they supposed to do? So now it's not enough to have a job you have to go and get a different job? Surely if a job is not paying enough that's an issue for the employer / min wage, it's not the employees fault?

Confusing (and scary).

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