The pub chain maintains that variable hour contracts have been in place at the company since they started, and has been successful in allowing both the employer and the workers a greater flexibility in their hours. It is believed that around two thirds of Wetherspoons’ staff are flexible employees and the success of the company has to do not only with good management but also a motivated and engaged workforce. Indeed, in September 2013 more than 21,000 zero hour workers at Wetherspoons were awarded benefits consisting of a share in a £22 million bonus pot in cash and shares.
Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon says: “Wetherspoons does operate flexible contracts for its hourly paid staff because the company operates in a seasonal sector and offers flexible hours to meet demand… [It] probably offers more hours per week than any other pub company because of its long opening hours and the fact that its pubs are busy throughout the day and Wetherspoon pub managers always try to give staff the hours they want.”
He went on to explain how Wetherspoons are careful to make sure their flexible staff receive holiday pay, bonuses, staff discounts and a number of other benefits including a free shares option after 18 months. He confirmed a statistic from the ONS that states: “flexible hours suit many people, though we appreciate that they do not suit all.”
In tomorrow’s instalment of the Zero Hour series, we hear what advice Acas has for SMEs…