Chronobank Zero hours contracts that work for the employee

  • There has been a lot in the news
    about Zero Hours contracts recently. LaborX offers a version of these
    that works for both sides of the deal.

    Zero Hours contracts are a type of work contract in which the employer is not obliged to offer a minimum of hours work per week, and the employee is not obliged to accept and shifts or work offered.

    In theory, Zero Hours contracts offer advantages of flexibility for both sides. In practice, they have been widely criticised and have been been a feature of high-profile negative press about a number of large companies, due to the abuse of employees they often entail. The reality is that, although employees do not legally have to accept work offered, they frequently cannot afford not to. If they do refuse a shift, they may find themselves tacitly sidelined and not offered work in the future. Zero Hours contracts give all the power to the employer, and the worker is forced into working odd shifts, cancelling plans to take a shift at short notice, and putting up with periods of time where no work is offered. The worker gets the worst of both worlds — and they are often forced on lower-paid workers.

    Unfortunately, since the financial crisis, a growing number of companies have been using Zero Hours contracts to save on labour costs. In the UK, the number of people on such contracts has reached a record high of 910,000. 12 years ago it was around a tenth of this number.

    LaborX: Zero Hours done right

    When they are used fairly, Zero Hours contracts can be ideal. They allow workers to choose when to work, allowing them to fit their employment around other commitments — including family. Employers, too, can call upon a pool of people to make up gaps in their workforce, as and when necessary.

    By decentralising the recruitment process, ChronoBank’s LaborX exchange allows for fairer allocation of tasks. It is a true market for talent, in which the most able workers rise to the top in terms of reputation and, therefore, pay. By design, no company/employer is given the power to prevent a worker from accessing opportunities; no worker is excluded from a job based on anything other than their performance.

    Moreover, as a global platform, workers can access jobs from all over the world. The power imbalance inherent in Zero Hours contracts is removed once the worker has choices. They are no longer forced to accept work from one employer, knowing that if they do not take it then there may be nothing else offered by the same company. The scope for this implicit blackmail is vastly diminished. Whilst job opportunities are limited by location, online there are no such restrictions — especially for knowledge workers.

    Blockchain is a technology whose first implementation (bitcoin) was financial in nature, but its ultimate significance is social and political. It disintermediates existing structures, removing centralised gatekeepers and offering advantages at the popular, grassroots level. The advantages of Zero Hours contracts are supposed to be the choices they bring. Very often that means choice on the part of the employer to offer work, at the expense of choice on the part of the worker to turn it down. LaborX restores the balance, offering the benefits of choice to all.

    To find out more, visit

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