Zero-Hours Contracts to be Restricted in Welsh care sector

Plans to curb the use of zero-hours contracts and protect care time in the social sector have been unveiled by the Welsh Labour Government.

Under proposals being put out to consultation today, employers will need to offer workers in the domiciliary care sector the option of a minimum-hours contract after three months of continued employment, if there is ongoing demand for the work.

Measures to tackle ‘call-clipping’, where care time is cut short by travel between visits, have also been announced.  The proposals would require providers of domiciliary care to differentiate clearly between travel time and care time when preparing employees’ schedules, giving due regard to issues such as the distance between visits and rush hour traffic.  This would help ensure that care time – and, therefore, the quality of care – is not eroded.

Wrexham Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has backed the proposals and is urging all interested parties to make their views known via the consultation.  Ms Griffiths said: “The Welsh Labour Government is committed to enhancing the quality of social care and evidence suggests that zero-hours contracts in the sector impact negatively on the quality of care delivered.”

“These proposals are all about fairness.  By restricting zero-hours contracts for care workers in Wales, the Welsh Labour Government is not only protecting workers’ rights by offering greater financial security, it is also helping to improve recruitment to the sector and the quality of service for clients.”

The consultation is available on the Welsh Government website and will run for eight weeks, until 7 August 2017.