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Cable review into zero-hours contracts is 'inadequate', says The Work Foundation

The Work Foundation has called for a more systematic investigation into zero-hours contracts, after calling the review commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable (pictured) "inadequate".

In its report, Flexibility or insecurity? Exploring the rise in zero-hours contracts, the Work Foundation said a more in-depth review is required to identify the full extent of how and why these contracts are being used.

Cable has been leading a review on the contracts since June and will decide in September whether to hold a formal consultation on specific proposals.

Zero-hours contracts, under which the employee has no guarantee of work, have been under the spotlight recently after it emerged many of the UK's largest employers including Cineworld, McDonald's and Sports Direct use them.

The Work Foundation warned, however, that calls for an outright ban on such contracts were "misplaced", and employers should instead be encouraged to use better workplace practices.

Confusion remains

Director at The Work Foundation and report author Ian Brinkley said a lot of confusion still remains.

"There are a vast number of workers who are unaware they are on zero-hours contracts," said Brinkley.

"We still don't know how many have taken them by choice and how many out of necessity. Nor do we yet understand the true reasons why employers are making more use of them."

Brinkley added: "The investigation announced by Cable is inadequate. A fuller investigation would enable accurate analysis and would help devise effective policy measures and protect workers most vulnerable to potential abuse."

Happy on zero-hours

Despite the calls for a ban of zero hours contracts the report found three-quarters of those workers on this type of contract did not want anymore hours.

Just under half (44%) of those on a zero-hours contract have been with their employer for more than two years, the report found.

It also showed just under 18% if those on zero-hours contracts said they were looking for alternative employment.

Last week research showed more than one in four companies employ someone on a zero-hours contract.

The study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation of 600 employers showed that 27% used this type of contracts.

Last month research from the CIPD revealed there could be almost one million workers on zero hours contracts in the UK.