Deborah Moon, HR Consultant, considers the reports from the Resolution Foundation, Low Pay Britain 2013, and the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the Nation 2013: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain, as well as the debate surrounding the Living Wage, highlighting some of the key arguments and views expressed.

Despite some recent encouraging signs of economic recovery, many employees are continuing to experience declining levels of pay in real terms, with a consequent squeeze on living standards for themselves and their families.

Pay increases within the private sector have remained relatively subdued, and indications are that they will continue to do so during 2014. Within the public sector, pay levels remain subject to tight fiscal control — a core element of the Government’s overall economic strategy — with affordability considerations a key concern for employers. As local government organisations grapple with the challenges of yet further spending reductions, job insecurity, limited pay prospects, and changes to terms and conditions appear to have become an ongoing employment feature.

It is within this overall context that increasing concerns have been expressed about a growing wage gap within the UK economy, and perceived pay inequality between those at the top end of the labour market and those in middle- to low-income brackets. A number of commentators and recent reports have drawn attention to an apparent shift towards what is seen as a “two-tier workforce” and polarisation of the jobs/skills market. This situation has led to a growing interest in, debate about, and support for, the concept of the Living Wage from a variety of organisations and individuals. Living Wage Week, which took place from 3–9 November 2013, provided a focus for further discussion, accompanied by the announcement of an increase in both the UK and London Living Wage rates. It also provided an opportunity to highlight the growing number of employers, including those in the public sector, who have either committed to pay the Living Wage or work toward that as a policy objective.

A recent report from the Resolution Foundation, Low Pay Britain 2013, which highlighted the incidence of low pay in our economy, and the report of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the Nation 2013: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain, which drew attention to the polarisation of the UK’s labour market and need to focus on securing higher pay for the “working poor”, both provided further evidence of these pay and employment trends. At the same time, the local government services pay claim for 2014–15, recently submitted by the trade union side, focuses on the achievement of the Living Wage as the minimum pay rate for the relevant staff.


The regulation of minimum pay levels in the UK is undertaken through the mechanism of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which provides a minimum rate per hour, below which workers should not be paid. There are four categories of worker covered by the NMW (adult, development, young worker and apprentice), the rates for each being set by the Government, as advised by the Low Pay Commission. The rates are normally updated annually, with any increases taking effect from 1 October.

Unlike the NMW, which is a statutory requirement, setting a mandatory “pay floor” with which all employers must comply, and which has enforcement and financial penalties attached to it, the Living Wage is a voluntary concept. Its underlying rationale is to ensure a level of pay that covers the basic costs of living so that employees and their families can live free from poverty. It seeks the commitment of employers to ensuring that, as a minimum, all directly employed and contracted staff are paid an identified Living Wage rate.

As previously indicated, there are two Living Wage rates — one for London (reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital), and one for the rest of the UK. The London Living Wage is set annually by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and covers all boroughs in Greater London. The UK Living Wage, which applies outside of London, is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. The relevant rates are derived from different calculations, with both the London and the non-London hourly rates announced every November. The current rates are £8.80 per hour in London and £7.65 per hour in the rest of the UK.

Organisations are able to become accredited Living Wage employers — the Living Wage Foundation’s website ( sets out the process for accreditation and conditions that apply, as well as highlighting the range of organisations across the private, public and third sectors who have become accredited Living Wage employers. Accredited employers undertake to ensure that the Living Wage rate is paid to all directly employed and contracted staff. It is not necessary to become an accredited employer in order to pay the Living Wage rate to directly employed staff only.

Low Pay Britain 2013

In each of the past three years, the Resolution Foundation has published a major annual audit of low pay in Britain, looking at the scale and shape of the low-paid labour market and the people it affects. This year’s report (Low Pay Britain 2013), published in September, refers to the changing nature and incidence of low pay during that period, with concerns now focused on the combined effect of cost-of-living pressures and low earnings growth, resulting in a wage squeeze across the entire earnings distribution. It poses the key question: will renewed jobs growth help to reverse or reinforce the apparent shift towards a two-tier workforce?

The report looks at past trends in, and the shifting nature of, wage inequality. From a low of just 15% of employees in 1975, the proportion of low-paid workers (defined in the report as those who are below the relative low-pay threshold of two-thirds of gross, hourly, median pay among all employees) peaked at 23% in 1996. Since then, the proportion has changed very little — as at April 2012, it stood at 21%, reflecting a shift in the nature of pay inequality in recent years. The report finds that, while the top has continued to move away from the middle, the gap between the bottom and the middle has remained relatively constant (helped in no small part by the introduction of the NMW). However, general wage stagnation has meant that, for a growing number of workers, being in work no longer guarantees economic security. In particular, since 2009, the number of workers earning less than a Living Wage has, in the words of the report, “rocketed” from 3.4 million to 4.8 million in April 2012.

The report also considers the polarisation and changing nature of the jobs market, with a reduction in demand for many middle-skilled and middle-paying jobs, the shift in Britain’s industrial structure, and the growth in part-time, temporary and service-based roles. While recognising the benefits that can result from this inherent flexibility in the labour market, the report identifies the concern that these trends will be “locked-in” during a time of economic recovery and, potentially, for the longer term, with resulting implications for both wage levels and general living standards.

The report looks at those most at risk of low pay, including female workers, the young, those in lower-skilled occupations, part-time and temporary workers, and those in hospitality, retail and care. It provides a more detailed analysis of those employee groups, job profiles and industrial sectors who are most “at risk” of low pay or where the incidence of low pay is more prevalent, looking particularly at trends by age, gender and occupation.

It considers how the debate about low pay needs to be seen within the context of a wider wage squeeze, with wages having failed to keep up with gains in productivity and pay at the median and below, having fallen significantly since the mid-2000s. It looks at the link between low pay and living standards, and the impact of individual earnings in relation to broader family incomes.

The report finds that Britain remains at the “wrong end” of the low-pay league table, with the UK identified as “one of the worst performers on the international stage”. It considers how public policy choices may have contributed to this situation, concluding that “while the particular incidence and composition of low-wage work in any given country is the result of unique patterns of production and employment, we must acknowledge that these patterns are shaped, in part, by the choices of policymakers”.

Finally, the report suggests that fixing this problem requires “new thinking” and that, while low pay is not a new problem, the nature of the issue has changed over time. It finds that the challenge is increasingly a structural one, with new technologies and changing consumption patterns increasing demand for low-paid service workers, at the same time as many middle-skilled roles have disappeared.

The report acknowledges that reducing the share of workers who are low paid is not a political objective that can be easily addressed, and there is a limit to the role of the Government in directly regulating and shaping wage-setting. However, it argues there is a strong case for looking again at how the Government can build, or better utilise, labour market institutions, its interaction with employers and unions, and its ability to influence social norms to ensure a reduction in the reliance on large numbers of low-paid workers.

Pay and Social Mobility

Similar themes to those previously outlined can be found in the report of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the Nation 2013: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain, published in October. Chaired by Alan Milburn MP, the report considers both the concepts of fairness, incidence and impact of poverty and disadvantage in our society, as well as the economic price we pay through wasted potential and lower growth. It refers to increasing public concerns regarding the apparent growth in wealth for those at the top end of our society, with growing insecurity for many in the middle, and “stalled life chances” for those at the bottom. It looks at the actions by the Government and others to tackle poverty and improve social mobility, including the role of employers and public bodies. It recognises this is a long-term process and identifies a number of “keys” that can unlock social progress. These include:

  • clear, accessible routes into work for those pursuing both vocational and academic education and training

  • plenty of high-quality jobs throughout the country with good progression opportunities and fair recruitment processes

  • family incomes that are supported by decent levels of pay and the right incentives to find employment and work enough hours.

The report reflects that these are challenging times in which to seek to make progress on these issues, with a squeeze on both family incomes and public spending. It finds that the labour market has been surprisingly resilient, but that with real wages stagnating or falling, many more families are experiencing a fall in living standards as a result of the current economic climate. It makes an assessment of a range of actions taken by the Government and others, including:

  • supporting the transition to work and expansion in apprenticeships

  • welfare reform and introduction of Universal Credit

  • universities seeking to attract more low-income students

  • employer’s efforts to open its doors to a wider pool of talent, particularly within the professions (although socio-economic class is still found to be a bigger barrier than gender in getting to a “top job”).

Echoing a theme in the Low Pay report, it expresses concern that, with recovery, the recent trend, whereby the top part of society prospers and the bottom part stagnates, will continue and that high youth unemployment and falling living standards are “storing up trouble for the future”.

It identifies a number of fundamental changes in our society, the effect of which, it believes, may have been underestimated by the relevant parties, including:

  • growing insecurity among average-income families, not just lower-income ones

  • growing in-work poverty, with the UK having one of the highest rates of low pay in the developed world — it finds that the NMW is now worth £1000 less in real terms than in 2008, with 4.8 million people, often women, earning less than the Living Wage (referred to in the report as the “working poor”)

  • polarisation of the labour market, with high skills, high-wage work for those with the right qualifications and connections, and low skills, low-pay work and little prospect of social advance for those without — there is also a need to secure higher pay, lower insecurity and better opportunities for career progression

  • constraints on public spending and the age of austerity, with an ageing population/society and the resulting rising costs, combined with the impact of benefits changes on family income levels.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including urging the Government to focus on reducing in-work poverty by looking again at the remit of the Low Pay Commission to enable raising of the minimum wage (see below). It also calls on employers to “step up to the plate” by providing a fairer deal at work, with higher minimum levels of pay and better career prospects, enabled by better skills.

More recently, and continuing the theme in the report, Alan Milburn has warned that in-work poverty could spread to clerical, or white collar, workers as pay for these jobs continues to fall in relative terms. Wage inequality is seen as a mounting problem in Britain, with the shift in the value of jobs amplifying the difference between so-called “lovely jobs” and “lousy jobs”. There is a concern that a range of factors, such as zero-hours contracts, trade union decline, the dearth of career ladders and replacement of jobs with technology, could bring about a further devaluation of white collar roles. In addition, economic recovery will not halt the trend of the growing gap between the richest and those less well-off in our society.

Local Government and the Living Wage

Unions demand Living Wage for low-paid council staff” was a headline that greeted the 2014–2015 national pay claim from the trade union side of the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services. The claim is for “A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points.” In support of their claim, the trade unions have cited the numbers of local government workers who earn less than the Living Wage, as well as the relative deterioration in public sector pay, both generally and between local government and other parts of the sector, eg the National Health Service (NHS) and Higher Education. Concerns are also expressed about the impact of this situation on gender pay equality in view of the large proportion of female and part-time workers in local government. Their overall objective is to ensure the Living Wage becomes the lowest pay point for NJC employees.

The claim argues that there is widespread recognition across the political parties, and among economists, that earnings throughout the economy have fallen to damaging levels, with Ministers and others calling for an increase in pay to boost the economy. It cites a number of politicians in support of this argument and the concept of the Living Wage, including Vince Cable, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband, along with growing public awareness and recognition of this issue. It suggests that the failure to pay the Living Wage and tackle “poverty pay” is not just a private sector problem, referring to the increase in the total number of workers within the UK below the low-pay threshold of £7.47 an hour, and the proportion represented by local government workers.

The claim sets out a range of statistics, based on research undertaken by Unison, on the growing number of local government organisations who are paying the Living Wage, or are considering doing so, although expresses some misgivings about the process for implementation in some councils, ie not through collective negotiation, and changes that, it believes, have been made to other elements of the employment package by way of a “trade off”.

It goes on to look at the perceived benefits to the economy of the Living Wage, including through:

  • increased tax revenues

  • lower benefit payments

  • potential jobs growth

  • increased spending in local economies

  • organisational benefits, such as:

    • improvements in productivity/service

    • enhanced employer reputation and corporate social responsibility

    • improved retention and reduction in recruitment/training costs

    • reduced absenteeism and improved psychological well-being.

It also raises concerns about the disproportionate effect of the Government’s “austerity agenda” on women (who make up a significant proportion of the local government workforce), with payment of the Living Wage seen as a core element of a new “gender agenda”.

The Local Government Association has, more recently, issued guidance to local authorities on the issue of the Living Wage, including the range of considerations that councils may wish to take into account when considering their position on this issue. As the guidance makes clear, it is a matter for each council, as an individual employer, to determine the approach it wishes to take in relation to the Living Wage and any related matters.

Support for the trade unions’ economic argument for the Living Wage was recently provided by Unison-commissioned research, which suggested that the boost to the UK economy, as a result of introducing a statutory Living Wage, should lead to aggregate job gains, seeking to counter the views of others who are concerned about the potential detrimental impact and cost to businesses of such a change.

The trade unions would also, no doubt, have welcomed the comments from Rachel Reeves, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, speaking at a recent Trades Union Congress (TUC) event, when she urged councils to support a Living Wage and tackle the issue of low pay. In a similar vein, according to a report from the National Policy Institute, a combination of welfare reforms and below-inflation pay increases have resulted in low-paid local government workers being worse off than they were in 2010.

However, a contrary view to public sector pay, more generally, was taken by the Policy Exchange, when it published statistics claiming that the average public sector worker enjoys a 6.1% “pay premium” in comparison with his or her counterpart in the private sector. It claimed that this varied according to geographical region, with workers in some parts of the country benefiting from a higher “premium”, while others in London, the South East and East of England, earned less than their private sector counterparts. It argued for an end to national pay bargaining, and the adoption of a system reflecting local labour markets and individual performance. Not surprisingly, these views were given short shrift by the trade unions, with Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, describing the idea of a public sector pay premium as a “myth”, commenting that “dressing it up with dodgy statistics still won’t make it true”.

The idea of pay regionalisation has previously been put forward by the Chancellor George Osborne, although, in the event, did not progress in the way originally intended. Similarly, greater links between public sector pay and performance is a principle that has also been promoted by the Government, for example, the reforms to teachers’ pay. For local government services staff, many would argue that the flexibility already provided for within the national agreement enables individual councils to design pay and grading structures, and set pay rates that reflect both internal relativities and an appropriate relationship with the external market. In addition, a number of authorities, particularly in the South/South East, have moved to local pay/terms and conditions arrangements. These flexibilities may also incorporate some form of performance or contribution-based pay progression and/or other payment, as the continued appropriateness of the more traditional “automatic/time-served” arrangements come under increasing scrutiny.

Relationship with the minimum wage and other employment issues

Interestingly, in the light of the comments in the Social Mobility and Child Poverty report, the Government has recently asked the Low Pay Commission to consider what conditions would need to be in place to allow a faster increase in the NMW, without an adverse impact on jobs. It has also published findings from research by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), which revealed that businesses who pay less than the NMW risk huge damage to their business through loss of reputation, low productivity and high staff turnover. These findings showed that:

  • 8 out of 10 people “would not use the services of a business if they found it paid less than the National Minimum Wage”

  • almost the same amount (79%) would encourage family and friends to do the same, while 9 out of 10 people called employers who pay less a “disgrace”

  • underpaying staff was also found to breed resentment, low productivity and high employee turnover — 8 out of 10 workers would “not work as hard” if they knew they were underpaid, perhaps not surprising when 90% said they would actively resent their employer, and the vast majority would seek other work.

Commenting on these findings, employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson indicated that the Government would be “cracking down on those few rogue companies who are not doing the right thing and breaking the law by underpaying their staff”. Employers who fail to pay workers the right amount will face a financial penalty, be publicly “named and shamed”, and may even be prosecuted. An illustration of this was recently provided by the findings from an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which revealed a number of cases of employees in the care sector paid below the NMW.

Giving evidence to the Low Pay Commission, the TUC has also called for a “bold rise” in the NMW, warning that the Government must increase the relevant rates by more than the rate of inflation, or average earnings growth, to avoid putting further financial strain on working, low-wage families.

The incidence, nature and pattern of use (and alleged abuse) of zero-hours contracts, another employment practice that can have a detrimental impact on pay levels, has also been the subject of much debate recently. As well as the review of the NMW, the Government has launched a consultation on tackling any abuses of these types of contracts, focusing on four key areas of concern:

  1. “Exclusivity clauses”: contractual provisions that stop workers from working for another employer, even though they are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours and may need to supplement their income.

  2. Lack of transparency: these is no clear legal definition of a zero-hours contract and the term can cover a variety of working arrangements.

  3. Uncertainty of earnings: the income of workers on zero-hours contracts will be dependent on the number of hours worked, and it can therefore be difficult to calculate earnings (which can also affect benefits calculations).

  4. The “balance of power” in the employment relationship: workers can be concerned that they will be penalised if they do not take the hours offered to them, creating a “climate of fear” that they may be less likely to be offered work in the future.

As with the issue of the Living Wage, there are divergent views on the benefits, or otherwise, of the use of zero-hours contracts. Do they represent another example of worker exploitation and job insecurity or are they simply another form of flexible working that can be used to assist employers in managing fluctuations in service/customer demands without increasing employment costs? Are they another indicator of a shift in the balance of power in the employment relationship, further eroding people’s wages and standards of living?

Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Zero-hours Contracts: Myth and Reality, suggests that the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK has been “underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised” and that “the positive experience of the majority of people employed on these contracts has been overlooked”. One difficulty, perhaps, is the lack of understanding, clarity of definition, and information relating to their use (and abuse). To help improve understanding about the respective employment rights and responsibilities of employers and zero-hours workers, the CIPD has also published guidance in collaboration with law firm Lewis Silkin, Zero-hours Contracts: Understanding the Law.

Notwithstanding the concerns and poor practices that undoubtedly exist when used appropriately and responsibly, they do provide benefits to both individuals and employers, offering a level of flexibility that can suit both organisational and personal circumstances. This flexibility can be vital to the efficient delivery of certain public services, which are subject to fluctuating client demands, such as those in the health and social care sector (but where low pay rates are often found).

A number of commentators have also drawn attention to the impact of low-pay levels on the gender pay gap, with concerns about the increase in the number of women in low-paid jobs. For example, statistics and research published by the TUC drew attention to the numbers of young women trapped in a “low-pay cycle”, with the gender pay gap starting early in their working lives, as women commence and remain in employment in sectors that have lower pay and fewer prospects. It called on the need for investment to create “decent jobs” and provide better early years careers support.

The low-pay/high-pay relationship

As indicated earlier, concerns about the incidence of low pay have been accompanied by unease about the growing wage disparity within the UK, and upward movement of the remuneration of those at the top end of the reward spectrum. While much of this has focused on the financial/business sector, the public sector has not been immune from criticism. For example, it was recently reported that, when giving evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury expressed concerns about the pay levels of council chief executives, referring to the possibility of pay for these posts being set by central Government. In addition, the pay of senior managers in the NHS and re-engagement of such staff following structural re-organisation has also been the subject of Government and media criticism.

Information recently published by Incomes Data Services, showed that the total pay for FTSE 100 directors had risen by 14%, primarily as a result of an increase in share-based, long-term incentive plans. Boardroom remuneration is undoubtedly a complex picture, with reward packages combined of a variety of elements, where one part may go up and another may go down. However, the contrast with pay for the majority of staff was an inevitable comparison, with the TUC pointing to the survey data as highlighting the disparity between average employee wages and rewards for those at the very top, and prompting further “fat cat” references. A number of actions/initiatives have been taken to curb, or restrain, such top pay “excesses”, for example, regulations relating to executive remuneration and bankers’ bonuses, along with shareholder pressures and voting powers.

Whatever one may think about the relative pros and cons of the relevant pay arrangements and monetary values, there is no doubt that disproportionately high-pay ratios can impact on staff perceptions of fairness and equality, with a potentially adverse effect on workforce performance and staff engagement, particularly when those at the lower end of the pay spectrum may be struggling to make ends meet. The issue of publishing and monitoring pay ratios was, of course, a key aspect of Will Hutton’s report Fair Pay in the Public Sector and is now a requirement placed on local authorities as part of their data transparency obligations, along with the suggested incorporation of this information within their annual pay policy statements. This practice enables councils to track their progress year-on-year, as well as demonstrating to their staff and local communities the actions they are taking to ensure that pay at all levels in the organisation are fair and appropriate.

The potential benefits and impact of the Living Wage

A range of views and opinions have been expressed about the potential economic, business and employment impact of the Living Wage, as well as wider social policy, moral, and ethical considerations. Those who speak in favour of it cite a range of benefits that can accrue for employers, including:

  • lower turnover rates and reduced recruitment costs

  • the ability to attract higher calibre and more experienced staff

  • improved retention resulting in a more stable workforce

  • increased staff availability, enabling more effective and efficient staff rostering and deployment

  • greater levels of employees satisfaction and improved staff performance/quality of service.

Increases in an employer’s wage bill may therefore be offset, at least in part, through such efficiency savings, although the actual impact is likely to vary between organisational and industrial sectors, dependent on the nature and composition of the workforce. Other arguments cite increased income for the Inland Revenue, and a reduction in benefit payments as a result of raising low-wage levels, thereby providing a boost for the wider economy.

Employer groups are, perhaps understandably, concerned about the potential increase in labour costs, including higher National Insurance and pension contributions, as well as the knock-on effects on internal pay relativities and differentials with more senior roles. Fears have also been expressed about the potential detrimental impact on broader business recovery, which they believe could result. However, some commentators have questioned how realistic these are, pointing out that similar concerns about the NMW were not realised when this was introduced. There is also a level of “nervousness” about committing to the payment of the Living Wage in circumstances where the potential level of any future increases is uncertain.

A particularly challenging area is within the outsourcing/contracting of services, such as catering and cleaning, which are utilised by many large commercial organisations, as well as those in the public sector, including local government. Large contractors who employ significant numbers of staff on or around NMW pay rates would clearly be faced with a significant increase in their wage bill, and there would seem to be a considerable task in seeking to persuade them to adopt a Living Wage rate. Such costs could also have a knock-on effect on contract pricing, with resulting implications for client organisations. As well as their responsibilities as a direct employer, public sector organisations, and local government in particular, are seen as having a key role in influencing thinking and practice on this issue through their procurement activities and work with businesses in the local community.

In addition, as human resources (HR) professionals will recognise, “pay” is not necessarily the only element of an employee’s remuneration package and there are other initiatives that have been adopted by many employers, including those in the public sector, and which need to be taken into account when considering this issue. These can boost income levels, for example, staff benefits that provide access to discounted prices on a range of goods and services, economies achieved through collective purchases, efficient use of salary sacrifice arrangements, the ability to “flex” the remuneration package to suit individual/personal circumstances, and the provision of financial education and awareness raising to help households in managing their money. The provision of, and access to, such staff benefits is an area in which the public sector and local government tends to have a good track record, potentially offering a cost-effective way of maintaining a reasonable total reward package, despite the constraints on basic pay levels. However, there could be a danger that, the greater the perception among staff that core pay levels are “unfair”, the less effective these elements of the reward package may be.

Whatever an organisation’s stance on the issue of low pay and the Living Wage, it is clear that this is an area that has drawn increasing attention and one that HR professionals will need to have firmly on their agenda. For example, speaking at this year’s Labour Party Conference, Ed Miliband promised a “race to the top” in terms of improving workers’ pay levels under a future Labour Government. More recently, he announced that, if Labour are elected, employers would receive a tax rebate of up to £1000 for every low-paid worker whose earnings were increased to the Living Wage during the first year of that party’s Government. Are we likely to see the issue of low pay and the Living Wage become a key “battleground” in the run-up to the next General Election?

Employers and individuals will be hoping that the initial signs of potential economic recovery are sustained and developed for the longer term, providing an environment that can support an increase in income levels in real terms, and in which there is a fairer earnings distribution across the employment spectrum. HR professionals have a key role in influencing, advising on and, indeed, leading the thinking on an issue that is central to the development and delivery of a positive and sustainable employment relationship.

Further Inforamtion

Resolution Foundation, Low Pay Britain 2013, available at:

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the Nation 2013: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain, available at:

Policy Exchange, Public and Private Sector Pay 2013 update, available at:

Zero-hours Contracts: Myth and Relaity and Zero-hours Contracts: Understanding the Law, both available on the CIPD website at

Deborah Moon is a Consultant in Human Resources and is a regular contributor to Croner-i HR for Local Government. Croner-i HR for Local Government is an online employment law and practice reference source designed specifically for HR Managers and their teams in local government.

Last reviewed 18 December 2013