Zero-hours contracts have been a hot topic in the news lately. Each day there seems to be a different politician calling for them to be banned or a new survey highlighting one of the many negatives of the contracts.

However, what is so controversial about them?

Companies using zero-hours contracts can offer contracts to workers without having to guarantee any work.

Often zero-hours contracts do not allow the workers to be employed by anyone else, even if their employer is not providing them with any work.

The limited financial security and stability that these contracts offer workers is one of the main areas that people are taking issue with.

In August, a former Sports Direct employee quit her job at the firm and began legal action over the zero-hours contract she was on.

The employee stated that she had suffered from panic attacks, which she blamed on the lack of financial security with the contract offering no guaranteed income.

It has been reported that 20,000 of the 23,000 staff at Sports Direct are on zero-hours contracts.

Another area of concern is the way the contracts in some firms are being used as a management and disciplinary tool. Some firms are openly offering more hours to the employees with better behaviour and fewer hours to the ones who cause trouble.

However, there has been some praise for the contracts and a lot of people are against an outright ban on the contracts.

Sectors such as tourism and hospitality say that zero-hours contracts allow them to easily employ workers in response to fluctuating demand, but without the commitments of a regular employment contract.

A CIPD survey also found that 38% of workers on zero hours contracts described themselves as full time employed and working more than 30 hours a week.

The government will be deciding in September whether to hold a formal consultation on possible changes to the employment laws covering them.