Wetherspoon’s Contracts

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Following in the footsteps of other big-name brands, JD Wetherspoon have announced that they will be offering staff the chance to ditch their zero-hour contracts in favour of permanent employment.

Currently employing 24,000 people on zero-hour contracts, JD Wetherspoon’s announcement will change the working relationship between the company and a large proportion of their workforce.

Guaranteed Working Hours

With the use of zero-hour contracts becoming an increasingly controversial topic, particularly in light of the treatment of staff by employers such as Sports Direct coming into question, the move from JD Wetherspoon is likely to be welcomed by their employees.

Zero-hour contracts are common in the retail industry and offer employees’ flexibility with the number of hours they work.

These types of casual contracts do not require staff to work any minimum hours, shifts are allocated depending on the needs of the business and that of the availability of the employee.

Despite this, they have become a focal point for staff and trade unions, who feel that they exploit employees, raising concerns about the effect on the employee’s ability to assert rights, and build an effective working relationship with their employer.

JD Wetherspoon follow in the footsteps of other high-street names in announcing the end of zero-hour contracts, McDonald’s and Sports Direct recently announced that staff will be offered guaranteed working hours.

Successful Trial

The move from the popular pub chain comes after a successful trial in some locations, which saw over two-thirds of staff on zero-hour contracts take up guaranteed hours that were equivalent to about 70% of their typical working week.

Founder and Chairman of the company, Tim Martin, confirmed that the success of this trial encouraged the company to roll out a similar offer to employees across its 920 pubs.

It is expected that all employees of the chain will be offered the guaranteed hours contracts within 3 months, however it remains to be seen how many of the 24,000 staff currently on zero-hour contracts will sign the new deal.

Zee comments:

“Zero-hour contracts are clearly controversial, having received a lot of negative press from recent high-profile cases. However, it is important to remember that, in some instances and certain industry sectors, they can be an effective solution and of mutual benefit to both parties.”

“The significant number of staff signing a guaranteed work contract during the JD Wetherspoon trial would suggest that it is likely many more will accept the new deal when it is rolled out across the country.”

“For employers, it is important to continually review working practices and agreements, not only to ensure they contain the correct provisions on the obligations and rights of their employees but also to ensure the type of contract remains mutually suitable. Failure to do so could have a significant impact on staff morale and retention.

Written by Zee Hussain.

For more information on employment law and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call:

0808 129 3304

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