Garden centre industry must "make clear it is not a zero hour industry" after Taylor Review

Hillview Group chief has said garden centres should distance themselves from the idea of zero hours contracts and promote the benefits of flexible working conditions.

Boyd Douglas-Davies
Boyd Douglas-Davies

July's Taylor Review of employment practices highlighted the gig economy and was critical of zero hours contracts, advising the Government on ways to protect low paid workers.

The Hillview Group chief executive Boyd Douglas-Davies said there was a "massive difference" between zero hours and flexible hours contracts.

Douglas-Davies said zero hours contracts were short-term with no benefits, while flexible hours contracts, which are often offered by garden centres and nurseries, included benefits such as holiday pay and equal rights.

Douglas-Davies added: "The industry needs to make clear it is not a zero hours industry. Flexible hours suit students who want holiday work and mums who want term time work. We don't want to be seen as part of that zero hours brigade. We want to get away from the word."

He said his business was highly seasonal with spring and Christmas peaks when staff had to be brought in, although he aims to level out troughs by adding more leisure offerings.

Taylor recommendations:

• People who work for platform-based companies, such as Deliveroo and Uber, be classed as dependent contractors

• Strategies must be put in place to make sure that workers do not get stuck on the National Living Wage

• The review suggests a national strategy to provide good work for all "for which government needs to be held accountable"

• The government should avoid further increasing the the non-wage costs of employing a person, such as the apprenticeship levy

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