Proposed ban on zero-hours contracts “completely the wrong move”, says IEA expert


In the Media

Philip Booth quoted in The Telegraph

Responding to the TUC’s demands for the government to ban zero-hours contracts, Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Once again the TUC wants to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on the labour market.

“Zero-hours contracts are not ideal for some workers, but for a significant number who cannot or do not wish to commit to fixed hours they may be the only form of employment they can take on. 

“Nearly a fifth of all workers on zero-hours contracts are full-time students. Many more are semi-retired older workers, or people with family and caring responsibilities. Some already have a full-time job elsewhere, but take on extra zero-hours contracts to augment their income. 

“Crucially, few of them – less than 20 per cent in recent Labour Force Survey figures – want a new full-time job or longer hours. 

“The effect of a ban would be to exclude some workers from employment. Faced with higher costs, businesses would almost certainly aim to consolidate on fewer employees working longer hours, drawn from a different age group and demographic. A complete ban on zero-hours contracts would be completely the wrong move at a time when we need greater, rather than less, labour market flexibility to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment.”


Notes to Editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715942731

Professor Len Shackleton is available for further comment.

For further IEA reading on zero hours contracts click here.

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