For young people such as myself, the prospect of finding work is not looking good, to say the least, however, further to this, the traditional working day is a thing of the past. With the rise of zero-hours contracts, part-time work and piece work, it has become a problem that often means that some people can be waiting days before actually getting the chance to earn some money. While I accept that this is not something that just applies to youth, it has positives and negatives for all.

The problem with such work is not that an employee can be called in at any time, given that most accept this by taking such work. The problem is that consequently, this type of work offer instability, uncertainty and the inability to plan for the future. The fact is that this is a problem for many families too and exclusivity clauses in such contracts are immoral and I am glad to see the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, tackling this. It is a problem that causes many to struggle to make ends meet, no matter their circumstances.

Those who have been working for years and have constant routines of nine to five can sit with the assurance that they have stability but there is no such luxury for those just starting in their careers. The fact is, in times of austerity, hiring zero-hours employees is the affordable option but I call on employers all over to think. Do you really know what it’s like to have no sick leave, no stability and no ability to plan for the future? I’m guessing the answer would be no. The zero-hours contract has led to many employers seeing their employees as people to do a job, not people who have lives, people who have families to care for and people who would like to have social lives.

While I accept that some, such as college and university students, may appreciate the so-called “flexibility” that zero-hours gives them, however, if your employer is not understanding of your workload from your course, this can suddenly turn from flexibility to a workload nightmare. There are no rough set hours, no planning of what you can do. The nature of such a contract shows no consideration that the employee may have a life outside of work.

While some more considerate employers may give notice of when an employee is likely to be needed, this is, I am afraid to say, a rarity. The system allows abuses of the person that are not physical but effectively allow employers to order employees around like puppets. Additionally, when they are at work, it is often the case that they get very few hours, meaning little money as a result.

I would go so far as to say that this contract was built with the employer in mind, not the employee. There are still big issues with it and we wait eagerly to see changes. I appreciate that it may have to be done in small steps, however, the one thing that concerns me is that it may lose pace and be forgotten about. This cannot happen. The most important issue that stands out for me is the lack of stability that such contracts allow. Not just financially but in planning for life. There’s a problem with this contract purely down to one word in its title and that’s ZERO. Zero hours, zero stability, zero ability to plan for the future. This is a problem that needs tackling. So let us tackle it now, before it gets seriously out of control.

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