By Daniel Hunter

Alexander Ehmann, Head of Regulatory Policy at the Institute of Directors, has said that banning zero hour contracts would be 'misguided and extremely damaging'.

New CIPD research suggests that there could be about one million zero hours workers in the UK - but just 16% report that their employer often fails to provide them with sufficient hours each week, sparking calls to ban such contracts.

“Calls to ban Zero Hours Contracts are deeply misguided and any such action would have extremely damaging results. It would hurt thousands of employees who rely on the flexibility such contracts allow and employers, especially small and medium sized firms, would struggle to hire the staff they need to meet varying demand," Ehmann said.

“Countries with a flexible labour market tend to have lower unemployment and higher employment, and one of the reasons that the UK economy has not gone the way of southern Europe is because employers have been able to adapt swiftly to changing demand. Taking on a full-time member of staff remains a risky and potentially expensive option for any company emerging from the downturn.

“Zero Hours Contracts can be a vital tool in our economic recovery, giving flexibility to both employer and worker whilst also guaranteeing basic employment rights.”

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