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Zero-hour contracts and labour law, an antithetical association?

Publié le 15 décembre 2020 Mis à jour le 12 janvier 2021

Under zero-hour contracts no working hours are guaranteed to the worker and the employer can call on the worker if and when he needs to. No remuneration or job stability is therefore guaranteed to workers Starting from a comparison in the developments of zero-hour contracts and their legal framework in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, the seminar aims at analysing whether European social law and international human rights law may offer reliable protection for those who are working under those arrangements.

Initially, labour law had set rules, such as the minimum duration of part-time work, preventing the use of zero-hour contracts. Today, these arrangements resurface in several European countries to meet a perceived need for labour market flexibility. In Belgium, the legislator has introduced a specific form of zero-hour contracts, named flexi-jobs, in so-called fraud-sensitive sectors like the hotel and the catering sector. In the UK, two to three per cent of the workforce now works on a zero-hour contract. In the Netherlands, no less than three different forms of on-demand contracts are organized by law. National laws have evolved and accommodate the rise of zero-hour contracts...
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