A key policy commitment in the Labour Party manifestos (as well as the main one, there are also separate business and workplaces manifestos) is on zero-hours contracts. Those who work "regular" hours for more than 12 weeks of employment will be entitled to a regular contract. Workers on zero-hours contracts will also be protected from being forced to be available at all times or having their shifts cancelled at short notice without compensation.
The Liberal Democrats also say they would eradicate abuse of zero-hours contracts and give a right for workers to request a fixed term contract. They would also look into creating a right to make regular working contractual after a period of time.
The Conservatives also say they would end the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. These changes are already being introduced under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act, and we can assume that they will bring this into force, together with back-up anti-avoidance regulations. These regulations were not finalised before Parliament went into recess for the Election; the intention then was to extend the ban to all contracts under which there is no guarantee of a certain level of weekly income.
UKIP would introduce a duty on employers with 50+ employees to offer a fixed-hours contract to anyone who has worked on a zero-hours contract for a year. Workers would also have to be given at least 12 hours advance notice of work and be paid once notice was given. Both these changes would be enforced through a legally binding code of conduct.
Another Labour proposal is to amend the Agency Workers Regulations so that workers who are paid between assignments are no longer excluded from the protections. Previously the Labour Party had said it would guarantee equal rights for the self-employed but this does not appear in any of the manifestos.
The Liberal Democrats would ensure that employers cannot avoid giving staff rights or the national minimum wage by "wrongly classifying" them as workers or self-employed.