By Pravin Jeyaraj
Zero Hours Justice welcomes the decision by London-based Southwark Council to stop using zero hours contracts for its care home staff.
Under its new Residential Care Charter, the council has committed to no longer put staff on zero hours contracts in place of permanent contracts, unless individual members of staff specifically ask for it.
According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, almost a fifth of people employed on zero hours contracts are in the health and social care sector. The data also shows that more than a third (33.7%) of those on zero hours contracts describe themselves as working full-time and, for those who say they are working part-time, the average usual weekly hours is 25.5. This suggests that many employers are using zero hours contracts when the work is fairly regular and could be said to be de facto permanent.
In addition to the ban on zero hours contracts, Southwak Council will also pay care home staff at least the London Living Wage (£11.05 per hour), pay them for a proper handover between shifts and provide free training that must be taken during working hours.
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