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Zero hours contracts; a statement on working practice and employment

The use of zero hours contracts in archaeological organisations has been highlighted as an area of concern by our Registered Organisations Committee and also falls under the umbrella of general working practice for all our members. Legally the use of this type of contract is unproblematic, but it is important that IfA members and Registered Organisations who are using zero hours contracts are complying with Principle 5 of the Code of conduct. Although IfA has not received any formal complaints against Registered Organisations regarding the use of such contracts, we have followed up specific cases where certain contracts have come to light (such as in job adverts). In these cases, it does appear that the use of such contracts has not undermined either the quality of work or the employment rights of the employee – and in the case of the latter, employees were in fact subject to the same levels of employment benefits, training and induction that core staff received.

However, the issue does remain an area of concern and we are keen that all Registered Organisations and members do ensure that they are aware of their obligations under Principle 5 of the IfA Code of conduct. IfA expects all its Registered Organisations and members to give due regard to employment legislation, welfare of employees in relation to terms and conditions of service, IfA minimum remuneration package and reasonable consideration to cumulative service etc in relation to pay rates and employment benefits - which means contractual terms appropriate to the nature, duration, frequency etc of the work in question.

Should a complaint be made against an organisation or an allegation against a member, it will be investigated in accordance with the provisions of the relevant IfA regulations. We would encourage any archaeologist who feels that they are being unfairly employed by a Registered Organisation to consider making a complaint if they are unable to resolve their concerns with their employer. More information about how to make a complaint can be found on our website pages (www.archaeologists.net/regulation/complaints) and Diggers’ Forum Newsletter 5 (Winter 2010) offers a very helpful guide to the procedure and how to begin a complaint (www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/node-files/DFnewsletter5web.pdf ). Diggers’ Forum will offer advice and support to its members who wish to discuss making a complaint, but who may wish to remain anonymous and not contact IfA directly in the first instance. A disciplinary procedure also exists to investigate allegations of malpractice against individual members, the process for which can be found on the above link.

Institute for Archaeologists
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