Ministry of Justice has ‘employed hundreds on zero-hours contracts’

Posted On: 
6th March 2018

The Ministry of Justice has admitted to having employed hundreds of people on zero hour contracts, despite widespread political criticism of their use.

The Ministry of Justice has employed hundreds on casual contracts since 2011
PA Images

The department revealed that since 2011, nearly 600 people have worked under contracts with no guaranteed hours.

They add that the total peaked in the same year, when 172 people worked there on a casual basis, and that number had gradually fallen year-on-year to its current 21.

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In response to a written question from Labour MP Chris Ruane, the Government confirmed those currently on casual contracts at the MoJ are scheduled court ushers working at the Courts and Tribunals Service.

It comes amid Government plans to boost the rights of casual and zero-hours workers, including extending holiday and sick-pay entitlements.

Although ministers stopped short of calling for a ban, a review into modern working practices late last year found “too many employers and businesses" rely on flexible contracts.

While pushing through Universal Credit reform, the then Work and Pensions Secretary and now Justice Secretary David Gauke argued the arrangement “suited” the majority of people who worked in them.

Others have sought to end them however, with SNP MP Chris Stephens winning support from Lib Dem and Labour MPs in his bid last year to end zero-hours contracts.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson told the Telegraph: “While zero hours contracts can offer flexibility, use of zero hours contracts has decreased since 2011, and we will continue to work across the department to cut this number even further.

"We only use these contracts in exceptional circumstances, with less than 0.1% of the civil service workforce on such arrangements.”