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Taylor Review: Proposal for Employers to Pay Premium Rate for Zero Hours Contracts

Matthew Taylor was appointed by Theresa May last October as the chair of the Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy to review the UK’s employment practices in light of the growing concerns about the nature of work, particularly in the gig economy.

Mr Taylor in a recent interview on 14 April 2017 for the Guardian suggested that employers who hire staff on zero hour contracts could be forced to pay premium rates for short-notice work under upcoming proposals. This is in response to the problem faced by more than 900,000 workers on zero-hours contracts who are ending up in the unenviable position of waiting for work that never comes.

Mr Taylor stated he had been ‘hearing ... about people in the social care sector who are told, ‘Be ready to leave the house at seven in the morning’, then a phone call [comes to say] ‘No we haven’t any work for you today.’

Mr Taylor has proposed that an increased rate would deter ‘lazy’ employers from exploiting their staff, while also providing them with the incentive to give workers a guaranteed number of hours, as refusing to do so would result in a greater penalty. However, Mr Taylor was keen to stress that the issue remained ‘up for debate’ as there were potential drawbacks to the proposal, including making it more difficult for workers to understand the national minimum wage regulations.

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