Deaf News: Zero-hours scheme defended by Action on Hearing Loss

Posted on August 16, 2013

Zero-hour contracts have come under the spotlight in the past few weeks. National deafness and hearing loss charity, Action on Hearing Loss, has defended itself after The Northern Echo newspaper claimed the organisation is employing two community support workers in the North-East of England on zero-hours contracts.

The use of zero-hours contracts has been widely criticised by politicians and trade union leaders because they offer no guaranteed hours of work and no regular pay. Defenders of the scheme say zero-hours contract provide workers a route into employment and flexible work arrangements for those who need them, such parents with childcare responsibilities or carers.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Action on Hearing Loss Executive Director Louise Pritchard said zero-hours contracts allowed them to hire workers to provide flexible care and support to accommodate deaf individuals’ needs. They also said workers benefit from flexibility while keeping their employee benefits and perks. Only 4.4% of its support workers are on zero-hours contracts, according to Action on Hearing Loss.


“Louise Pritchard, Action on Hearing Loss executive director of services, said: “Action on Hearing Loss care and support services are committed to personalisation. This means ensuring people have a real choice and control over the support they receive, so that they can live life the way they choose.

“Our localised care and support managers decide when it is appropriate to call on zero-contracted staff and told us that it is important to be able to have a staff team that enables us to respond as swiftly and flexibly as possible to best serve people with a hearing loss, and by using zero-contracted employees, they can achieve that.”

The charity, which said only 4.4 per cent of its care and support staff were on zero- hours contracts, said the arrangement benefited its staff who also wanted flexibility, while maintaining their holiday entitlements and sickness benefits, and being entered into the charity’s contributory pension scheme.”

By Paul Harrison, the Limping Chicken’s News Reporter. Paul is a freelance journalist, currently living and working in London. When not at his desk writing or tweeting, he can be found at a coffee shop or Loftus Road/The Stoop/Celtic Park (delete as applicable) mumbling insults at the referee or sloppy passing. Follow him on Twitter as @paulbharrison

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